Monday, March 7, 2011

Save Our Beach

Update: September 8, 2014 ~ New website launch for 
Save Our Beach!

The production of GlassDharma Glass Straws was just beginning when David Leonhardt was contacted by Kim Masoner from Her inquiry included a plan to use a single glass straw with a bamboo carrying case for the purpose of her introductory talks to groups of volunteers who gather for Beach Cleanup sessions on Seal Beach, CA. Not only does Kim organize these groups, she uses the opportunity to suggest ideas that help us all consider our own impact on the environment.

Kim’s story:
“We started ‘Save Our Beach’ because we live along the ocean (it's literally our backyard) and we take long walks and pick up trash along the way. We were asked many times if we had any extra bags as people would see us pick up trash and they thought they'd like to help, so we started carrying extra trash bags on our walks. Then we started carrying a box of trash bags with us and setting it on the sand and people would pick up a trash bag and help out. And then we decided if there is that much interest in people that want to help, we'll just make it easier for them by conducting a Beach Cleanup on a monthly basis.”

I asked Kim about the volunteers that are involved in her beach cleanups:
“A few years ago a young man and his three young daughters participated in my beach cleanup and the dad was smoking and dropping his cigarette butts in the sand the entire time while they were participating. His youngest daughter (after being fed up with having to pick up not just trash, but her very own dad's cigarette butts) finally said "Dad, please don't drop your butts in the sand - the beach is not your ashtray!"

We didn't know about this until a few months later when the dad and his 3 daughters came back again to a cleanup and the dad confessed to me that he didn't even realize what he was doing, it was just a habit and that everyone dropped their butts along the highway or in the sand at the beach. He was so touched by his daughter letting him know that it was not okay and that she hoped that someday soon he would quit smoking.

A month later, he stopped smoking and they continue even today, participating in our cleanups to see what other habits they might be able to change.”

Kim explains how she starts each Beach Cleanup:
We currently conduct monthly Beach Cleanups in Seal Beach and in Long Beach and recently added a Los Cerritos Wetlands monthly cleanup.

At every Beach Cleanup I show my participants all the changes I've made in my day to day routine and I also tell them where to get them”. And if you want to have your own beach cleanup during the week, I can arrange for this on any beach anywhere from San Diego to Santa Monica. I supply everything – all you need to do is have participants show up!

This is where I like to show off my story boards at my beach cleanups in hopes that participants will take my lead and change everyday things in their own lives and it's been working so far!

  • I show off my glass straw and bamboo case from GlassDharma and let them know I will never need to use another plastic straw as I keep it in my glove-box of my car and I let participants know that if they break their glass straw, that Glass Dharma replaces them for free!
  • I'm collecting the cigarette lighters and straws for Algalita in Long Beach so they can make a paddle boat out of them! They've already sailed a boat from San Francisco to Sydney Australia that they made out of plastic bottles.
  • I collect foil juice packets and send them to and they send me 5 cents per packet - they recycle them into backpacks and purses.
  • I take bottles and cans to Cal State Long Beach for recycling.
  • I also show off my reusable bags from “ The Tote Buddy ” so now I never forget to bring my bags at the store - I keep them in my car.
  • And I show off my towels that I keep in my car peopletowels instead of using paper towels.
  • We now give participants Botanical Interests vegetable and herb seeds to help them start their own garden (they are donated by BI - and the participants get to choose from hundreds of varieties).
Kim continues as she shares this story:
Two years ago Phonna, a young mother of a 5 year old named Paris, emailed me. She asked if there was a way that I could possibly help her daughter have her own Beach Cleanup in Long Beach since they live in Signal Hill. Paris had seen a movie at school about how our beaches are so dirty, so she decided she wanted start her own “Go Green” campaign. So Phonna helped Paris create Evites and they sent them out to everyone they knew: classmates, teachers, relatives, neighbors and friends. And by the time the Beach Cleanup date rolled around, there were over 89 RSVPs! (How can you say no to a five year old that is asking you to join her in her own Go Green Campaign!) It was a wonderful day for all! Paris and her entire family still continue to attend my Beach Cleanup in Long Beach, CA.

  left to right:  Kim, Milan (Paris' younger sister), then Paris

HERE ARE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP: It's very easy - just take a good look at your trash. Pick one item to eliminate, and figure out how to do it. Repeat as often as you can and we well all make a big difference! Before throwing anything away, ask yourself if it could be recycled, reused by someone else , donated or composted.

"We are inspired by many people and we guarantee that if you participate in one cleanup, you'll be inspired too!" - Kim Masoner

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