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What NOT to Bring to the Beach


On any given day, at almost any beach, several human generated pollutants can be found scattered along the shore;  discarded and left behind by beach goers, or cast into the ocean from boats and ships.  As lovers of the beach we should all make an effort to leave the beach as we found it (or preferably, better than we found it).  Below is a list, complied by the Ocean Conservancy, of the most common waste items that are found at the beach each year.

  •  2,117,931 cigarettes & cigarette filters 

  • 1,140,222 food wrappers & containers

  • 1,065,171 plastic bottles 

  • 1,019,902 plastic bags 

  • 958,893 caps and lids 

  • 692,767 cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons

  • 611,048 straws and stirrers 

  • 521,730 glass bottles 

  • 339,875 cans 

  • 298332 paper bags 

This is definitely not an exhaustive list of all the trash that is found on our beautiful beaches. These are only the most common items found in one year. There are several other items left behind at the beach as waste, including: balloons, beach toys, beach balls, beach towels and blankets, candles, lottery tickets, beach chairs and umbrellas, toothbrushes, fishing line and tackle and much much more. The Ocean Conservancy even found 117 mattresses. Yes, mattresses!

Yes these things are an eyesore, but the worst part is that this trash is left behind to endanger and pollute the oceans and beaches, and disrupt the habitats of marine wildlife. It is so easy to bring a bag with you to the beach and pick up all of your trash before you leave. Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Kure Beach do not allow alcohol or cigarettes; however if you do smoke or drink and happen to be at a beach where either or both are allowed, don’t throw your butts and empties on the beach or into the water! It is just as easy to drop them in the trash or recycling on the way out as it is to cast them aside into the sand. Our everyday choices can help keep the oceans and beaches healthy and beautiful for ourselves and for future generations.



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