JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Florida. – More than 450 volunteers participated in a Beaches Go Green cleanup event in Jacksonville Beach on Saturday morning.
Organizers told News4JAX that 75 bags of trash along with 28,000 cigarette butts were collected.
At least 300 pounds of large items were also swept away.
Organizers said they are focusing on streets, landscaped beds, sidewalks and areas off the beach because wind and rain carry litter onto the beach and oceans, and they want to catch it before that they don’t get there.
“Our beaches get a lot of attention, so we want to pay attention to other areas that are also heavily polluted,” said Anne Marie Moquin of Beaches Go Green.
Moquin said they offer a prize to the volunteers who collect the most cigarette butts and whoever finds the strangest object.
“When it comes to cigarette butts, I think a lot of people think they’re paper, but they actually contain cellulose and acetate, which is a form of plastic, and it can take up to ‘to five years for them to break down into microplastics and all the while they release the toxic chemicals that cigarette butts leach into the ground and then, in turn, into the ocean,’ said Moquin “We separate them and send them to TerraCycle so they can be scratched and recycled into park benches and other items.”
Groups participating on Saturday included Enhanced Resource Centers, The Players Championship, Mayo Clinic, Amazon Jax 7 and Amazon Jax 2, Green Pines Elementary, Atlantic Beach Elementary, Mandarin High, Ponte Vedra High, Nease High, Ponte Vedra Palm Valley-Rawlings Elementary, Ponte Groups Vedra Rotary, Focura, Fort Caroline Baptist Church, Fletcher Middle, Creekside High, iRocker and more.
Organizers said the total contribution from volunteer hours and waste reduction to the community was $28,035.24.
In addition to the beach cleanup, Enhanced Resource Centers, Salt Life Food Shack, The Players Championship, Donatos, Native Sun, Junkluggers, Brix, Monkeys Uncle Tavern, Publix, O-Ku, Sunrise Surf Shop and Jaffis donated food and price.
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