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Delaware Coastal Cleanup, Volunteers Needed

 Delaware Coastal Cleanup Sept. 23 Screenshot 2023-07-27 at 15.59.10


Volunteers throughout the state are encouraged to join the 2023 Delaware Coastal Cleanup, the annual one-day coordinated statewide trash cleanup event on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to noon, with online volunteer registration opened Tuesday, July 25. Hosted by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.  

Now in its 36th year, the event will be held at 45 sites to help keep Delaware’s beaches and waterways free of trash.


In addition, Delawareans and visitors are invited to join the month-long campaign starting Sept. 1 to clean up neighborhoods, green spaces and waterways statewide on days, times and at locations of their choice. The coordinated event and month-long campaign support Governor John Carney's Keep DE Litter Free initiative.


“Four years after the launch of our Keep DE Litter Free initiative, we are seeing Delawareans of all ages and communities coming together to keep our neighborhoods, coastlines and outdoor spaces clear of litter,” Governor Carney said. “Over 1,200 volunteers came out to last year’s Delaware Coastal Cleanup to help in our statewide cleanup efforts. Thank you to all volunteers who participate in our efforts to keep our state beautiful.”

“Last year, the number of volunteers who joined us to pick up trash from our  beaches, waterways and wetlands doubled. This year, we hope that even more Delawareans and visitors of all ages will give their time for one day to make a difference,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We also continue to encourage volunteers to make every day a cleanup day in Delaware during the month of September – and throughout the year.”


For the Sept. 23 coordinated cleanup, volunteers should sign up by Friday, Sept. 1 for their choice of sites through the Coastal Cleanup page at Walkups are not encouraged due to volunteer site capacity limitations.


Site captains with supplies will be on site to sign in volunteers and provide supplies, trash bags and directions. Although gloves, paper data cards and pens will be available upon request, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own gloves and to use the online Coastal Cleanup reporting tool, when it goes live Sept. 1, to share their findings. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring their own five-gallon buckets to collect trash, emptying the buckets into consolidated trash bags to reduce the number of plastic bags going to landfills.


Find ideas about how to get involved in the 2023 Delaware Coastal Cleanup on Facebook and Twitter. Volunteers in both the coordinated event on Sept. 23 and the month-long campaign can post photos for a chance to win a 2023 Delaware State Parks pass and a prize bag. Volunteers can post photos as often as they like throughout the month, with each photo counting as a one entry. All volunteers should also report their findings and are invited to share photos through the Coastal Cleanup page. Results will be updated during all month long and will appear on an interactive map.


Last year, 1,180 volunteers cleaned up 6,248 pounds of trash from waterways, wetlands and other natural areas. The top five trash items collected were: 12,280 cigarette butts; 4,986 plastic and glass beverage bottles and cans; 4,852 food wrappers and containers; 300 balloons, and 459 plastic bags, half the number from the year before.


Cleaning up locally makes a big difference statewide and keeps trash from entering waterways and making its way to beaches and beyond. DNREC suggests several ways to help make a difference all year long:


  • Be proactive by picking up trash near your home to keep your neighborhood clean.
  • Follow a carry-in/carry out plan and take all trash with you when visiting outdoor spaces, like Delaware State Parks, DNREC wildlife areas, Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve locations, and county or local parks.
  • Pack a bag and rubber gloves when you take a walk, go for a hike, go hunting or fishing, etc., to collect and carry out trash you find along the way.
  • Recycle applicable items through in-home recycling or designated drop-off locations. Learn more


DNREC reminds everyone to wear gloves when picking up trash, wash hands thoroughly after cleanup activities. More information and volunteer registration can be found at Volunteers also can email questions to [email protected].