Ultra Music Festival sets the bar in Festival Greening

In November of 2018, EEG, Inc sought to relocate their Ultra Music Festival to Marine Stadium and Historic Virginia Key Beach Park (HVKBP). There were many concerns from the community about these environmentally sensitive areas, and EEG reached out to numerous local environmental groups to ask for input and assistance to minimize the impact of their festival. Three environmental groups - VolunteerCleanup.Org, Surfrider Foundation Miami Chapter, and Debris Free Oceans - engaged in order to protect Virginia Key, HVKBP, and Biscayne Bay. The environmental groups developed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which EEG committed to a list of sustainability and environmental protection actions that are well beyond what any other festival or event of this scale, in the same venue has ever attempted or accomplished before. More impressive was that they integrated this sustainability program in less than 4.5 months.

We proceeded with this endeavor with 5 primary goals:
1) Protect our beautiful Biscayne Bay and Historic Virginia Key Beach Park.
2) Help EEG develop best practices for sustainable festivals and encourage EEG to replicate these practices in the other 40+ events they host around the world.
3) Leverage the prominence of Ultra in the Electronic Dance Music scene to set the bar for other festivals to work towards.
4) Educate festival goers on the importance of protecting our planet and ‘leave no trace’.
5) Have the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County build many of these same sustainability requirements into their Special Events Permits for other festivals and events that wish to host events throughout the city.

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

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...


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International Coastal Cleanup Day Impact Summary 

This past September, VolunteerCleanup.org 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! https://www.instagram.com/p/BnwZhKhnU4o/

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....


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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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See something, Say something

I did a little unplanned cleanup while on vacation at Blue Springs State Park in Florida the other day when I discovered polystyrene pieces littered where tons of birds hang out just to the left of the canoe rental launch. Come to figure out that the foam pieces came from uncovered foam buoys that the park uses. I'm pretty surprised that a state park - a sanctuary for manatees and other wildlife - would make such an egregious decision on material, but I emailed the park manager and the result is those units are now out of the water and new encapsulated buoys have been ordered. Lesson - If you see something, say something.

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Floatopia Redo Sept 2015

We're not one to give up on a tough challenge, so when the Floatopia 'organizer' (this is an informal gathering spread via social media) contacted us again, said the next Floatopia would take place in Miami Beach in just a few weeks (September 5, 2015), and asked if we would help with eco-engagement, we immediately said yes. This Floatopia was going to be much different than the one in April.

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International Coastal Cleanup Day In Miami-Dade County Set for Sept.19

MIAMI  (September 8, 2015) - International Coastal Cleanup Day in Miami-Dade County is set to take place Sept. 19 from 9 a.m. to noon at 40 different sites across the county. Organizers of the event, VolunteerCleanup.org, are expecting approximately 3,200 volunteers to collect five tons of trash and debris from 30 miles of coastline.

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Floatopia 2015

Every year, a very large unsanctioned / unpermitted event called Floatopia brings 2-3,000 people with pool floats to Miami Beach as a result of a very effective social media concept. Every year locals complain about the amount of litter that ends up on the beach and in the waters. This year, a couple eco-groups decided to do something about it and put a plan together to help mitigate the problem. A major undertaking to say the least. Read how it went below....

Tide coming in

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Collecting Ocean Plastic for Method Soaps

Some companies are doing amazing things. Method Soaps is one of them. 

VolunteerCleanup.Org, SurfRider, and CleanUp Miami Beach recently partnered with Method Soaps to collect 50 cubic feet of #2, #3, and #5 plastics from the shorelines which will be turned into bottles. It took us 5 cleanups and about 2 months, but it was well worth it. You can check them out here : http://methodhome.com/beyond-the-bottle/ocean-plastic/

Method Soaps demonstrates that you can make a profit *and* do right at the same time. They have my loyalty and business from here on. You can find Method® Ocean Plastic 2-in-1 dish + hand soap at Whole Foods and Target (and I'm sure other fine retailers).


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Teaching 5th Graders

I got an email out of the blue from a 5th grade teacher who heard about my work. She had been teaching her students about trash in the waters, and and asked if I we could coordinate a cleanup for her 45 students. The plan ultimately evolved into a one hour presentation to the students and then a shoreline cleanup involving the students and their siblings / parents. We broke up into 3 teams : 1) plastic bottles, 2) rigid plastics for the Method Soap collection, and 3) trash. We picked up 40+ bags of trash and recyclables that the ocean spit out in a little over an hour. Honestly, this was the most fun I've had in a long time - especially knowing that none of these 45 kids will ever litter. This may be a new direction in my strategy.

You can see my presentation here :

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