A trash can overflowing with trash on a beach with more litter around it.

Changing Perceptions of Independence Day Debris in Oregon

Oregon Surfrider is using community outreach and community cleanups to reduce consumer and firework debris from Independence Day celebrations along Lincoln County beaches.

Type of Project: Prevention

Region: Pacific Northwest

Project Dates: September 2023 - August 2024

Who is involved?
With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Oregon Surfrider is working with local shops and conservation nonprofits to prevent debris created during Independence Day celebrations from ending up in our ocean.

What is the project and why is it important?
Independence Day celebrations are the most significant single-day contribution of litter and marine debris to Oregon’s beaches each year. The debris typically includes fireworks and other single-use plastics, such as foodware, plastic drink bottles, and more. Oregon Surfrider is taking action to prevent this debris from making its way to our ocean by initiating behavior change through community education and easy ways for the public to reduce their waste.

Oregon Surfrider will develop social media campaigns and traditional media awareness throughout the year to educate the public on the impacts of Independence Day-related debris. Materials will also be sent out to fireworks retailers around the state to provide messaging to purchasers at the time of sale. Prior to the holiday, Surfrider will post signage about keeping beaches clean and place additional trash cans in popular locations for more disposal options. Surfrider will also organize a photo contest to encourage people to show off their sustainable celebrations and spread the word to the broader community. 

After Independence Day, Oregon Surfrider will host cleanups to remove debris, and then categorize and quantify the trash found to better understand what is left behind on beaches. Oregon Surfrider plans to continue this project by reusing media tools and signage, with the goal of a widespread change in behavior and a reduction in Independence Day waste each year.

Last updated Fri, 12/08/2023 - 08:14 pm EST