I haven’t officially started my Living Off Beach Trash yet, but I am tracking most of the beach trash I pick up and the income derived. The following stats are from January 1-31 2018. My turf is South Mission Beach in San Diego, California. Otherwise known as one of the top ‘Hot Spots’ for beach trash.
For those who have been to San Diego, it is the South Mission Beach Jetty to Belmont Park. The round trip on the ocean side is around 1 mile.Mission Bay Park is over 4,235 acres, including both water and land. I am only picking up less than a mile of the 27 miles of shoreline. In each of their 8 designated ‘Swimming Spots’ there is equally about as much trash .
My beach clean focus is what we call the Tide To Towel area. I do try to pick up at least 100 pieces of plastic in the Belmont Park parking lot and 100 pieces of plastic in the picnic area by the Belmont Park parking lot. To date and according to Clean Swell, I have picked up over 1700 pounds of trash over the last several years. Which is about half, as I do not record everything, everyday .
The goal is to make a living off what people throw away. How I do this… recycling, reusing, selling, crafts.. I don’t know for sure, but I am going to try.
My total income for January: This is only for 14 days of beach cleaning for a round trip of 1 mile.
- $100 found on beach. What a find!
- $23.00 from recycling Glass, aluminum and plastic bottles.
- $27.50 for laundry to wash towels and clothing to ready for resale.
- $70.00 for wagon to lug the trash.
- $12.00 Heavy duty plastic bags. As much as I hate it, but they do get reused. Buckets do not hold enough, although I do have buckets in the wagon.
- $3.00 Tips to recycling guys.
By Weight: This is not all, as I have a tendency to give the plastic and cans away to the homeless. The homeless do not usually pick up glass, too heavy and not enough money. I also have picked up a lot of glass and put it in the trash. Now that I know my new recycling center will measure it, will continue to pick and weigh by pound.
- CRV Plastic #1 8.5 Pounds
- CRV#2: .4 pounds
- CRV Aluminum Cans: 5.2 pounds
- CRV Bi Metal; .13 pounds
- CRV Glass: 38.1 pounds
- Glass No CRV: 3.4 pounds 38.1 pounds: 99.9% of this is liquor bottles which do not have a CRV in California
It is against the law to drink and smoke on our beaches, that does not seem to be a deterrent. The majority of the aluminum cans and the glass is some form of alcohol. It is also against the law to have fires on the beach, any given week, you can find at least 5 ‘illegal’ fires in the sand. Some still burning.
We have not had any major storms, in which hundreds of fishing gear, bottles, toys, balloons, bottle caps will wash up. One day several years ago, I picked up 602 bottle caps after a storm. We are not even in season yet. Our season starts Easter Break and goes through October. During the summer the average bottle pick up is 110, the average plastic beach in reusable condition is 60 toys per day .
Right now I am using Clean Swell as my marine debris tracker and while great, plugging in as you go is time consuming and I lose track. Also, I start in the dark, so I can’t see all the trash. When the Beach Cleaner’s come, much of what they either rake or pick up goes right back into the ocean. I estimate that this is about one tenth of what is really on the beach. Much is taken away by the tides and the seagulls.
Plastic: Plastic is the single most picked up items on the beach. It is said there will be more plastic in the ocean than animals by 2050. Scary thought.
- 268 Plastic Bottles: Note that it take 3x as much water to make a bottle of water. Interesting since most of the water in the water bottles is ground water. About 40% of the plastic bottles are sugary drink bottles.
- 185 Straws
- 179 Plastic Utensils from Take-Out Food Containers
- 89 Plastic Bags: This does not include Zip Lock Bags of which there are many.
- 238 Bottle Caps
- 26 Balloons
Packaging and other Trash: Most of this packaging is plastic
- 119 Other Packaging,
- 418 Other Trash
Food Wrappers and Food
- 430 Food Wrappers, the majority being Chip bags
- 223 Lids
- 349 Cups and Plates
- 148 Aluminum Cans
- 2 Stainless steel knives
- 1 stainless steel spoon
- 2 reusable plastic containers
- 2 reusable water bottles
- 1 glass dish
- 1 cake utensil
- 1 electric jar opener
- 2 Glass coffee mugs
- 5 plastic water glasses
- 1 chicken roaster
Styrofoam Containers: come in many shapes and form. Take out containers, styrofoam bowls for ice cream, styrofoam cups.
- 496 Styrofoam containers.
- 1157 Styrofoam pieces on the tide line from shredded cups, containers and disposable Boogie Boards.
Personal Hygiene: This category includes dirty diapers (about 1/day) , needles, contact lens solutions, perfume, suntan lotion, shampoo, toothpicks, toothbrushes, cosmetics, hair accessories.
- 50 Personal Hygiene:
Clothing and Textiles
- 20 Shoes: Singletons
- 20 Shoes: Pairs
- 50 Towels: 16 towels from the a Marriott Hotel which retail online for $40. 7 Towels from a Hilton Hotel. Most of the towels come from Hotels. Many are trashed, some are just put in trash cans! People are so rude and we wonder why hotels are so expensive.
- 4 Blankets
- 4 Hats
- 2 Purses
- 7 Sweats
- 38 Socks
- 10 T-shirts
- 1 Bathing Suit
- 1 Jacket from Kohls retail price $49.95
- 9 Pants
Toys: Included are only plastic beach toys that can be resold or donated. This includes 4 boogie boards, 2 Razors, 3 Barbies,
- 105 Plastic Beach Toys
Fishing Gear: Includes 3 crab pots, assorted fishing lines and buoys, glow in the dark sticks. Because their hasn’t been any big storms, this is a low count .
- 105 assorted
- 1 stroller
- 3 Lighters
- 1 Lock with no key
- 10 Tennis Balls
- 4 Volleyballs
- 1 Bottle of Lighter Fluid
Water Saved: Technically speaking the City of San Diego is still under water rationing guideline, I do save the water and reuse it to water plants
- 12 Gallons of Water Saved
That is it for my first month. No money made and only an outlay. But then again, saving the ocean and it’s life is worth it