Kelly Caiazzo

We want to thank everyone who participated in our “Take 3” Beach Challenge to pick up at least three pieces of trash the next time you went to the beach. As you can see, most people didn’t stop when they reached 3! We received trash photos from beaches and even islands everywhere from Cape Cod to Casco Bay, Maine.

As hard as it is to look at some of these photos and think about the danger they pose to ocean life and human health, this all trash that won’t be washed back into the ocean at the next high tide. For that, we’re really thankful.

It’s also interesting to look at the types of plastic found and think about how we could reduce it.

Maybe flowers are a good choice instead of birthday balloons, or balloon lovers could tie them to a chair inside the house instead of to a mailbox outside where they might blow away.

The photo

comprised solely of forgotten beach toys (that have been found new homes) is one that my mother sent me on a day when she arrived at the beach to discover many toys but zero families in sight. Writing our family name on our beach toys could help us keep track of them; I’ve looked at a shovel and left it behind because I wasn’t sure it was ours and wanted to avoid awkwardly stealing it from another family. Writing on items with a sharpie will help us retrieve our stuff with confidence before we leave the beach.

Plastic water bottles, plastic cups, fishing gear and plastic bags are also common features of these trash photos. And if you’re celebrating the Fourth of July, it’s extra patriotic to make sure you bring your flag home so it doesn’t end up washed up on the beach and forgotten with other trash. (It’s been rescued from the sand.)

Thanks everyone who picked up trash and sent us photos, and thanks to everyone who mindfully reduces their consumption of plastic to help fight this problem.

With your help, we can enjoy burying our toes in cleaner sand.

Kelly Caiazzo

The end of August and Labor Day Weekend have many people squeezing in a few last trips to the beach. If you’re one of those people, we invite you to take the 3 Pieces of Plastic Challenge and leave the beach cleaner than you left it!

Every time the tide comes in, the ocean brings us a gift; the chance to take back some of our plastic before it harms marine life. Even beaches that seem pristine at first glance will yield bits of plastic, large and small, caught in the seaweed or half-buried in the sand.

My mother is an avid beach-trash picker. She brings a bucket or a mesh bag every time she goes to the beach, and she picks up a full load of plastic and hauls it away when she leaves. Sometimes people will stop her and ask what she’s collecting; sometimes they’ll tell her that they’re going to start picking up plastic, too.

Those conversations are the best. Because what would happen if everyone picked up a few pieces of plastic every time we went to the beach?

The non-profit company “Take 3 For the Sea” is encouraging beach-goers to do just that. And you don’t need to haul a bucket to take three pieces of trash; you can them those into a side pocket of your beach bag without much hassle. (But by all means, bring a bucket and challenge your family or friends to fill it with you.)

Want to help reduce ocean plastic, but not headed to the beach? Here are a few ways you can help.

  • Reduce your seafood consumption. Fishing equipment is one of the largest contributors to plastic pollution in our oceans.
  • Plan ahead and bring reusables so you can decline single-use plastics
  • Choose backyard-compostable items over plastic for parties
  • Decline straws
  • Bring your own reusable shopping bags – store them in the car so you always have them
  • Buy unpackaged foods when possible
  • Use a Guppy-Friend for washing fleeces and synthetic fibers
  • Support an ocean clean-up non-profit (like 4Ocean etc.) as a gift for an ocean-loving friend

You can read more about how plastic gets in our oceans here.

Taking the 3-Piece or Full Bucket Challenge? Send us your beach-trash photos and we’ll include them in a future post! You can email them to

Kelly Caiazzo

We’re in the habit of bringing our own water bottles everywhere, sometimes to the point of awkwardness. (Nice restaurants will serve you tap water in a glass, plopping your hydroflask on the table’s
cloth napkin kind of detracts from the ambiance.)

But what about day trips or long afternoons on the beach where one
water bottle per person isn’t really enough?

I used to bring multiple reusable water bottles for everyone in the
family, but that got heavy and awkward.

Now what I do is I skip packing ice packs in our cooler, and instead I
use an extra large mason jar filled with ice-water. It keeps our
snacks cold, and when we’re done eating, I can use the ice water to
refill everyone’s water bottles. Wrapping it in a light kitchen towel
helps prevent condensation from getting on snacks if that’s a concern!

If it’s too heavy to carry, sometimes I’ll leave it in the car,
knowing that we can refill everyone’s waters before we drive home.

You can use ice cubes or you can put water in the mason jar and freeze
it in a solid block. If you do the latter, make sure you don’t fill it
all the way because ice expands and you don’t want to shatter a mason
jar in your freezer. Also be aware that it might not melt in time for
you to have enough water to refill your water bottle!

There are also a lot of large insulated reusable water jugs on the
market made from food-safe stainless steel; these might be a good
purchase if they’ll help make it easier for you to avoid buying
plastic water by the case to bring on your outings. They are also good
for places that don’t want you to bring glass in, such as many
amusement parks and pool areas. Look for them anywhere that sells
camping supplies.

But for me, having a mason jar of ice water in the cooler has made
summer just a little easier!