Beach Litter Cleanup Question and Answer

  1. What is the CLCP? CLCP is a Community Litter Cleanup Program, sponsored by the Department of Ecology.  Washington State University Extension Island County began the Community Litter Cleanup Program (CLCP) here in 1996 to help maintain Island County beaches and shorelines. CLCP has three goals:
    • share information about the impact of litter on the marine ecosystem.
    • bring attention to the importance of keeping our beaches clean.
    • clean up beach litter along shoreline in Island County via to approaches in the disposal of the beach litter through the “Purple Card.”
  2. How is it funded? A grant from the WA Department of Ecology funds CLCP. The Department of Ecology receives funding through litter tax, which is one reason we primarily focus on plastics.
  3. Where does the program pick up litter? Along the beaches and parkways in Island County. For organized cleanups, we focus on public beaches.
  4. Does CLCP host cleanups? Every Tuesday, CLCP hosts a beach clean-up.
deb and debbie at the beach
purple card with name and number
  1. Where do we get tools/supplies to help us? The WSU Extension office in Coupeville provides all necessary equipment.
  2. Where do I take the trash I pick up? There are four county facilities to take beach trash. Coupeville Solid Waste, Camano Transfer Station, Bay view Solid Waste, and North Whidbey Solid Waste.
  3. Is it important to log in my cleanup efforts?  Yes, this is information we report back to the Department of Ecology and is essential for us to continue the program.
  4. Where do I log in to record my clean-ups? We use the Beach Litter Tracker spreadsheet to track clean-up data.
  5. Is there anywhere we are not allowed to pick up? We are not permitted to pick up litter near the Naval base or in unsafe or precarious situations.
  6. Are there items we cannot pick up from the beach? We do not pick up creosote logs or wood generally; plastics are our priority.
  7. What can we do about items on the beach not covered by this program (derelict vessels, creosote items, etc.)? 
  8. Can I take large items, i.e., tires, creosote logs, and Styrofoam, to the satellite drop boxes (Bayview, Oak Harbor)? Large items should be taken to the Coupeville Transfer Station. The exception is Styrofoam, which is only accepted at Freeland DTG at this time.
  9. What is the Purple Card Program? Funded by the Department of Ecology, the Purple Card Program gives volunteers the freedom to beach clean at their convenience. All beach related litter can then be taken to a transfer station free of charge to the volunteer.
  10. How do I get a purple card? You can see Kacie Dominici at the front desk or by email.
  11. Can I use my purple card for the trash I pick up on the roadside and on the beaches? Yes, the CLCP Dept of Ecology grant covers roadside and beach litter. It does not cover commercial or household trash.
  12. Can I use my purple card at Bayview or Oak Harbor? Yes, you may use it at any of the four Island County facilities listed above.
  13. Can I use my purple card for household or property trash? No. The Ecology Grant specifically covers roadside and beach litter.  It does not cover household or commercial waste.
  14. What do I do to get involved? You can come to any clean-up without prior registration, but contact Kacie Dominici if you have questions or concerns.
People in the field working.
  1. What are the ways that I can participate? You can attend the beach clean-ups and/or become a purple card member. We also encourage community organizations to conduct beach cleanups.  We can help you do that.
  2. How do I register a group for a clean-up? Contact Kacie to learn more about the program and to participate via group cleanups or the purple card.
  3. Is it essential to log my clean-up efforts at the online site, and if it is, why? It is vital because WSU keeps track of the data and reports it to the Dep. of Ecology.
  4. Who do we contact if we find a stranded or injured animal? If on a beach clean-up, get Kacie Dominici. If not, contact the office.
  5. What kinds of litter do we pick up? We pick up plastic as much as possible. Trash, bottles, caps, shotgun wads, Styrofoam.[
  6. Do we watch out for safety hazards? You always check for injured creatures, syringes, bottles of yellow liquid, and sharp edges.
  7. What if we find needles? If you find a syringe, notify Kacie, and we will dispose of it properly in a wide-mouth container.
  8. Are tides a concern? How do you find out about the tides? Yes, getting caught in a high tide can be a dire situation. Many sites report tides, but we use NOAA Tide and Current.
  9. Can we keep the pick-up supplies long-term? No, they should be returned at every session’s end.
  10. How can you support us with a large-group clean-up? We loan out our supplies for large group clean-ups; it just needs to be planned with plenty of notice.
  11. Should we focus on more oversized items (intact plastic bottles, flip flops), or is the little stuff important too? Large items are essential to pick up because they often turn into millions of tiny pieces called microplastics which truly hinder marine life.Small pieces are important too, as these are the things which marine life and shore life can mistake for food.
  12. Any suggestions? Come and join us! It’s fun! Everyone over the age of eighteen is welcome.
Kacie and Deb at the beach.