Coastal Cleanup: Beaches

Sustainable Coastline: Event 

Love Your Coast Tamaki Makaurau 2018

Following on from the success of two years of Love Your Coast Manukau Harbour in 2016 and 2017, we’ve decided that in term 1, 2018 we’re going to bite off our biggest piece of coastal clean-up pie yet and tackle the entire Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) region, from north to south, east to west. This is our biggest New Zealand based clean-up project to date and you are invited to be a part of it. We have opportunities for community members, groups, schools and corporates to get involved.  Visit their site for more info.


Sustainable coastline Education

Our focus on education is straight forward: create large-scale awareness of the problem and provide achievable solutions. We teach simple steps and creative changes that anyone can make to prevent litter from getting to our coastlines in the first place. In other words: the fence at the top of the cliff, not just the ambulance at the bottom.


We deliver educational presentations to schools, community groups and organisations around New Zealand and the Pacific that bring to light the effects of rubbish on our marine environment and motivate communities to work on simple solutions to address it. We also run training workshops to teach anyone how to deliver the events and education needed to address the issue on a larger scale. Find out more about our training here.


The problem

Drains to sea

The ocean is downstream from everywhere. When we drop litter or leave rubbish lying around, wind and water carry it out to sea. When it rains, litter on our streets gets washed into drains and flows through underground stormwater pipes to streams, lagoons, estuaries and the sea, littering our coastlines and filling up our oceans with plastic. See the evidence from our downtown drain survey.

Plastic not-so fantastic

Most of what we pick up from beaches is made of plastic and has only been used once, like food wrappers, plastic bags and drink bottle caps. Plastic never goes away. It is different from natural, organic things like wood, paper and cotton. Plastic is not natural. It is made from oil mixed with nasty chemicals and does not go away naturally: it does not biodegrade. Because plastic isn’t natural, things made of plastic stay around for a very long time. Check out Our Impact for detailed data on the main offenders.

Trashing our own backyard

In 2011, New Zealanders sent an average of nearly 560 kilograms of waste per person to landfill, making us one of the worst producers of waste in the world. When you consider that there are over 4 million of us, that’s a lot of rubbish.

Man-made menace

Once in our oceans, rubbish can harm and kill sea creatures. It can look like food to some animals and when they eat it, it fills and blocks their stomachs, leaving no room for food and causing them to starve to death. It can also trap, suffocate and drown sea creatures when they get caught in it. Each year 100,000 marine mammals and 1 million seabirds are killed by rubbish at sea. See the shocking effects for yourself. 

Plastic soup

When rubbish gets into the sea you may not see it again, but it never goes away. It floats on the surface, can travel a very long way, and lasts a very long time. Much of the rubbish we let into our seas ends up in the middle of the ocean in places called gyres or eddies: huge areas where ocean currents slowly travel round in circles. Because of the continual flow of rubbish into the sea, these parts of the ocean are like massive plastic soups and have been referred to as floating garbage patches. Explore this interactive model of ocean pollution.

Fish & Plastic Chips

Plastics can be full of toxic chemicals used in their manufacture. When fish eat plastic pieces floating at sea, they absorb these toxins which become more and more potent with each step up the food chain. This means that the large fish at the top of the food chain have much higher concentrations of these poisons. As humans, we sit at the very top of the food chain. When we eat fish, toxins from the plastic can enter our bodies and cause major health problems. Scary stuff. Check out our campaign: What goes around comes around.


The SOlution

The choices we make

If we all use fewer products that create rubbish and dispose of what we use carefully, we can keep our coasts the way they should be: litter-free. The choices we make have a huge effect on the health of our oceans. Stopping litter, putting rubbish in the bin and following the four ‘R’s are easy ways to do your bit for the beach.


The most important of the four ‘R’s. If we don’t create rubbish in the first place, then we don’t need to worry about how we dispose of it, or worry about filling-up our landfills. Say “No” to plastic bags and take your own basket or bag when you go shopping.


Reduce the amount of waste you create. Use less rubbish and throw less away. Grow your own food. It’s fun, saves you money, and food from the garden doesn’t come wrapped in plastic. Buy fewer packaged goods and compost organic waste. Buy food in bulk rather than single-serve, individually wrapped products.


Think about how something could be used again before you put it in the bin or recycle it. Fill your bottle with water from the tap or filter station rather than buying a new one. Bring your own reusable bag to the supermarket or dairy. Use old ice cream containers as a lunch box or to store things in. Buy a Sustainable Coastlines reusable bottle.


If you have to have it and you can’t reuse it, then recycle it. Recycling means that we don’t need as many materials to make new products, saves energy, creates less waste and stops our landfills from filling-up so quickly.

Sign-up to clean-up

For rubbish that is already on our beaches the answer is simple: we can pick it up! Beach clean-ups are a great way to learn more about the issue and get involved in a hands-on solution. For invites to our events and to keep up to date with what we’re doing to look after our coastlines, join our mailing list through the form at the bottom of this page. Check out our upcoming events.

Run your own event

Beach clean-ups are great fun to organise for your friends, family, business, and community. Our Love your Coast website provides ‘How-to’ guides for planning a clean-up and lets you upload and promote your event. We also have reusable sacks and gloves that may be available to borrow. Whether you’re a family of five or a caring corporate, we’re here to help.