Clean Ocean Action: New Jersey’s plastic bag ban is helping beaches stay cleaner

Plastic and foam plastic still dominate the top items found washed up on New Jersey’s shores.

Jim Murdoch

Mar 23, 2023, 4:53 PM

Updated 485 days ago

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The results from beach cleaning sweeps in 2022 are in - and it's good news! The Garden State’s beaches are cleaner.
New Jerseyans may miss using plastic bags, but they're not winding up on the beach. Numbers released by Clean Ocean Action show the state has seen significant decreases in the amount of trash picked up last year.
Plastic straws were the first to go in the state in 2021 and then the plastic bag ban in 2022.
Last year, more than 8,000 volunteers helped pick up the trash along New Jersey's beaches. Clean Ocean Action holds sweeps each spring and fall from Cape May to Sandy Hook. Plastic and foam plastic still dominate the top items found washed up on shore.

Top items found on New Jersey beaches

Each year Clean Ocean Action issues the “dirty dozen.” The top five items found this year are:
1.    Plastic pieces
2.    Plastic bottle caps/lids
3.    Food/candy wrappers
4.    Cigarette filters
5.    Foam pieces
The organization also found unusual items last year like a casino rewards card, bicycle parts, Christmas decorations and hair extensions.
“Definitely seems like a big year for us, a big year for the state and the community and it's all thanks to our volunteers. We just compiled the data into our report, but if we didn't have these volunteers, we would not be able to do what we are doing,” said Kira Cruz, beach sweeps coordinator of Clean Ocean Action.
Anyone wanting to volunteer to help clean up can visit the Clean Ocean Action website and sign up. The spring sweeps are coming on Saturday, April 1 to 76 different locations.


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