The power of customer feedback

A small win is actually a big win. For years, a popular chain drug store in Miami Beach had a dumpster in their parking lot for their boxes and waste. They must have spent thousands of dollars for this roll-away, and it was such as shame to see all that cardboard entering the landfill (they didn't even flatten the boxes to save space and reduce the number of pickups they needed). On 2 separate occasions, I filled out the customer survey on the receipt and shared my thoughts and the negative impression I had on their business, especially when another store of the same chain a mere 7 blocks away bundled the cardboard nicely. Apparently they read those surveys, because now they got rid of the dumpster and are bundling their cardboard.!. One for the win jar.!. See Something, Say Something.


Cigarette Ban in City of Miami Beach parks and beaches

Here in Miami Beach, we have spent a decade trying to eliminate cigarette butt litter in very creative and engaging ways including:

  • We’ve produced and handed out 10,000+ reusable pocket ashtrays (made of recycled material of course) (see the pocket ashtray program here)
  • We partnered with Surfrider and the City of Miami Beach to deploy 100 pole-mounted ashtrays now capturing tens of thousands of cig butts (see the ashcan program here)
  • Walked up and down the beach with conversation-starting ‘Good Butts on the Beach / Bad Butts on the Beach’ signs.

All this time, we’ve continued to lobby elected officials to take on more responsibility, and we were thrilled that City of Miami Beach Commissioner Alex Fernandez called and told us he wanted to PROHIBIT SMOKING ON BEACHES AND PARKS (after Florida removed a statewide preemption that prevented us from creating such a regulation). We lobbied the other commissioners and spoke on behalf of the proposal, and it passed 5-1. The ban goes into effect on January 1, 2023. We realize enforcement will be difficult, but we are hoping the conversation gets smokers to realize that cigarette butts are made of non-biodegradable plastic that must be disposed of properly and that the planet (especially our beach) is not just a big ashtray. City communications has already created sandwich board signage at the entrance and is already getting the word out through social media and the local magazine. READ THE SMOKING BAN LEGISLATION



How we eliminated 2.5 MILLION Single-Use Plastic Bottles

100% Plastic Free Soda and Water Contract for the City of Miami Beach

We single-handedly tanked a 10-year renewal of an exclusive beverage contract between Coca-Cola and the City of Miami Beach that would have put an additional 25 million single-use plastic bottles (400,000 pounds) onto our beaches while leaving taxpayers to fund the cleanup and waste removal. Our lobbying of elected officials and direct engagement with PepsiCo led to a new contract that was 100% aluminum for all soda and water products, brought millions of dollars of revenue to the City coffers, AND placed the burden of capturing the infinitely recyclable (and valuable) aluminum onto the manufacturer.

Terms include:

  • Plastic-Free for all Soda and Water - PepsiCo partnered with Proud Source Water, which offers a 16oz resealable and refillable aluminum water bottle. The water option is carbon neutral and sourced responsibly.
  • Revenue for the City - For the privilege of being the exclusive beverage sponsor, PepsiCo pays an annual sponsor fee in addition to a 'per case sold' rebate.
  • Effective Recycling - For far too long, large companies financially benefit from sales of their products while passing on the costs of waste collection and disposal to the public (the city spends a small fortune cleaning the beaches and disposing of the tens of tons of trash generated by beachgoers). Because aluminum is so valuable (~.50 per pound), Pepsi is bringing in a 3rd party Replenysh to help recapture the material and get it back directly to PepsiCo to be turned into new beverage cans. Cans made from Recycled aluminum have roughly the same CO2 emissions as plastic (virgin aluminum is significantly higher, which is why capture and recycling is critical).

Click READ MORE for the details and video stories:


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Survey Results demonstrate the value of cleanups

We know that we cannot clean our way out of this ocean plastic mess, but we've always believed that cleanups can provide an eye-opening experience that will put people on a path to being part of the solution. So the obvious question is, how do cleanups affect the participants?

In 2021 and 2022, we started sending a post-event survey to the 3,000 volunteers who participate in our annual International Coastal Cleanup event, and the data shows that cleanups have a powerful impact on awareness, education, and behavior

Some highlights:

  • 66% had an increase in knowledge about marine debris from attending a cleanup
  • 73% committed to using fewer single-use plastics
  • 96% want to do more to protect the environment
  • 81% committed to attending another cleanup. 
  • One of our favorite quotes is: “People can do some extraordinary things if they work together for a cause.”

Download the 2022 ICC Impact Survey Results


Give Miami Day 2022 is here!!

We've been working really hard this year, and we've highlighted 3 reasons why we think you might want to add VolunteerCleanup.Org to your donation list. Whether you donate or not, we hope you will 'Click More' to read our list of recent accomplishments - we are SUPER proud of our work). 


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Impact Results from the 2022 International Coastal Cleanup Miami-Dade

We had a great and productive day last Saturday for the 2022 International Coastal Cleanup Miami-Dade (Spearheaded globally by the Ocean Conservancy, and organized locally by 3,000 volunteers came out and collected a record shattering 22,125 pounds from 56 unique locations. Even Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava came out.!. See the recap below including:

  • A quick educational debrief
  • TV News Segment - Channel 10 did an AMAZING segment on the day - link below
  • Last chance to order your own ICC shirt
  • Final Results, Tally (WOW!!!!!!!!) and our thoughts

Click 'Read More' for all the good stuff.!.

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Ultra Music Festival sets the bar in Festival Greening

Ultra Music Festival (EEG) partnered with VolunteerCleanup.Org, Debris Free Oceans, and Surfrider Foundation Miami Chapter to reduce their impact at their new home at Historic Virginia Key Key Beach and Miami Marine Stadium. 

Overall, we felt that EEG did an excellent job in reducing their landfill waste, increasing the capture of recyclable materials, engaging the attendees to protect the bay and park. Read the final report. Details below the fold.

If you would like to green your event, here is a starting document to get you going.

Overall First-Year Sustainability Grade: A

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Fall Newsletter: Coastal Cleanup Impact + Give Miami Day

Welcome to the Fall edition of our newsletter, chock-full of great updates including the impact summary from September's International Coastal Cleanup Day, + Instagram Contest Winners, our upcoming Give Miami Day fundraising campaign on Thursday, November 15th and our recommendations for Ocean Friendly Holiday Gift Giving.   Thank you for joining us in our crusade against marine debris and single-use plastics. Read on...


International Coastal Cleanup Day Impact Summary 

This past September, organized Miami-Dade's participation in the global, 33rd annual International Coastal Cleanup. For our 4th year leading the event, we are pleased to announce that we had our biggest turnout ever, with close to 3,000 volunteers removing nearly 15,000 pounds of marine debris from 49 different shoreline locations across Miami Dade!  A big thank you to all of the volunteers, Site Captains, and partners who made this county-wide cleanup such a success! 

*This effort was made possible by the generous support of our presenting sponsor, Covanta, with additional support from the City of Miami Beach - MB Rising Above, Capital One, Revolution 93.5 FM, and Miami Beach Suncare.

We'd also like to recognize the Winners of the Instagram Photo Contest: 

Honorable Mentions to: 

Most Miamian way to arrive at a cleanup! On a wave runner naturally!

We don't actually know who this is in order to award a prize, but it's amazing and we had to share! 

Winners will receive their choice of an ICC shirt, or ICC 2018 reusable stainless steel cup, both with the adorable Puffer Fish artwork from this year's theme. 

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August 2018 Newsletter

Welcome to our first newsletter, the Summer Edition, jam-packed with exciting updates to share, including kicking off registration for International Coastal Cleanup Day, a recap of our spring events, and amazing headlines and news on the fight against marine debris and single-use plastics. The movement is gaining momentum around the world! Read on....


Saturday, September 15th, 2018

Join the world’s largest one-day volunteer effort for our oceans by participating in Ocean Conservancy’s 33rd annual International Coastal Cleanup, on Saturday, September 15th, 2018  with 45+ cleanups in Miami Dade and show your commitment to reducing marine debris, along with volunteers from around the globe!

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Students becoming Change Makers

Commissioner Ken Russell proclaims May 12, 2016 as "Henry West Lab 5th Grade Class Day" for their work in raising awareness of plastic trash in Biscayne Bay and taking action with shoreline cleanups. Story after the video.

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