How it works:
1. Fill a 16 oz. container with broken glass, rusty bottle caps, plastic, or other litter you find on the beach.
2. Bring the full container to a participating local business and exchange it for a reward.
3. The business will dump the beach garbage, then return the container to you along with your reward.
With the support of local business, we can make your beach a better beach!
We all love the beach. Beaches are undoubtedly the best places to spend time and they're extremely important to our coastal ecosystems. Even for those who may not enjoy spending time on the beach, the connection between clean, healthy, and safe beaches and industries such as tourism, seafood and fishing, and real estate would suggest that everyone benefits from the quality of beaches being as high as possible.
Sometimes we find litter in the sand. Sometimes, it seems that the litter in the sand is overwhelming and contributes to a lower overall quality of a beach. Broken glass on the beach is a sore subject for me, specifically. I have had family and friends who have had nasty run-ins with glass on the beach. In late 2016 while playing frisbee with my dog, Ollie, on the beach near our house in Virginia Beach, VA, he got a half-dollar slice of glass stuck in his paw while running down the beach. He recovered, but the entire event seemed senseless to me.
How hard would it have been for someone to remove that harmful piece of litter from the beach?
Not hard. Either nobody noticed the shard of glass or nobody cared enough to stop and pick it up.
I wasn't sure how this could have happened in an area where beach cleanups are so common, and I was sure it had something to do with those two problems: Nobody noticed or nobody cared. I wanted to come up with a long-term alternative to the traditional one-and-done beach cleanups that would solve both problems.
Since high school, I had been picking up glass and putting it in a jar that sits on my dresser. The jar has a label that reads "make your beach a better beach" and it serves as a reminder to leave things better than I find them. Even after a bad day, I can still go down to the beach and make my community a better place. As a frisbee-dog loving, seafood eating, beach reading, wave surfing resident of Virginia Beach, I have a vested interest in the quality of our beaches, and I've found that the rest of our community does too. So what if we could give jars like mine to anyone who wanted one? There's nothing stopping them. They just need a little push.
That's what the Better Beach Project is- a little push. An incentive based program that facilitates the relationship between the community and local businesses and prompting action to the benefit of both parties. This is not the solution to litter on the beach or in your neighborhood, but it is a step in the right direction.
Bring a 16 oz. container full of broken glass, plastic, or other beach litter to a participating business for a free coffee, free appetizer, discounted growler fill, or other incentive. Use a container of your own or pick up a free one from any of the participating businesses. Not near VA Beach? Use our model in your own community.
Along with local businesses, we can make your beach a better beach.
-Brad Milliken, Better Beach Project Founder