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Seattle wa #optoutside cleanup

Seattle wa #optoutside cleanup

Nov 12, 2019

Seattle | Washington

November 9th, 2019

592 lbs.

On Saturday, November 9th 2019, United By Blue and REI threw our first partnered cleanup for the 2019 #OptOutside initiative, aiming to encourage a year of activism by opting to act. We met at Myrtle Edwards Park in the rain just as we did this past July, but this time we came back with more man power. This time 237 volunteers dispersed on trails, shorelines and rocky seawalls to collect mainly small pieces of debris. Styrofoam pieces were the most commonly collected, but between the top 5 all were single-use items (cigarettes, takeout containers, plastic bottles & shopping bags). 

In total, we pulled 592 lbs. of debris from the park in under 3 hours. It wasn't without belly planking on rocks, cutting free ropes and digging through small rocks for the pieces you don't see right away. Some volunteers found themselves busy in the same spot the whole cleanup, constantly rediscovering new debris as they moved rocks or sand. Through our data we noted trends, which included an huge decrease is straws discovered, 56 in July to only 9 this time around. Showing the power of legislation, as well as the power of water and tides. Among some of the ironic items discovered was a ToyStory VHS, dating itself by the technology. 

Apart from the few articles of textiles, metal pieces or car seat that were pulled from the water, everything was plastic. Even the ropes that were freed from rocks weren't really rope, but synthetic forms of its natural fibers. Once you boil down the fact that most of the items were plastic and almost all of those items are intended for a one time use, it became clear how you can amplify your impact. Thank you to REI for creating this guide to give us simple actions to help rid our daily lives of our plastic addiction.