found on the beach

Cleveland, dirty beach, lake erie

I’ve been talking a lot about the beach here on the blog these last few weeks. Driftwood forts, presents for strangers + magical sunsets. Beach talk always starts to happen as the weather warms up a little bit more but I recently started following a bunch of beach glass people on instagram and my obsession just went through the roof. I never really realized how serious some people are about beach glass. Following all these people not only added their photos to my stream but filled my explore feed with beach treasures. It makes me want to spend all my time at beach! That combined with the fact I have been making out like a bandit makes it hard for me to concentrate on work. So much beach glass + so much pottery!

My favorite beach in Cleveland is actually right beside our most popular beach, Edgewater, but it’s nearly always empty. It’s so peaceful there. The lack of people quickly made it one of my favorite places to just get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. One of the other things I enjoy so much about it is that there is a lot of glass, driftwood and other stuff. (Yes, by other stuff I do mean trash… Sorry Mother Nature.) This spring though? IT’S DISGUSTING. These last few weeks in particular its just been absolute wreck. This found on the beach arrangement almost feels like cheating since there is just so much trashed washed up on the sand currently.

When this obsession with picking up things on the beach started I was living in Geneva. With the fun little arrangements of beach trash I made there I can honestly say I feel like I was going the beach some good. It was a cleaner place when I left. I improved it for others to enjoy. My current beach though? I’m not even making a dent. It is literally impossible for one person to do it. Shoot, it’d be impossible for ten people to do.

My best guess is that the amount of trash that washes up in this little spot has to do with it’s proximity to the mouth of the river, the fact that anything that goes into Cleveland’s storm drains get washed into the river and of course, the location of the breakwalls. What doesn’t make sense to me is how neglected it is, that no one is doing anything about it. I would hate for anyone to think Cleveland’s beaches are gross. We have GORGEOUS, very clean, beaches but you would probably never think that after visiting this spot (…or after seeing my posts.)

I would pick up these things whether or not there was a cause behind it, that’s just how I am. I like to collect things. I also don’t know that me taking and sharing these photos will ever do anything to help clean up this mess but I hope that it raises at least a tiny bit of awareness even in a handful of people. Plastic doesn’t just go away. Recent studies have shown that this plastic is accumulating in the marine food chain, and harming the wildlife. You don’t have to completely overhaul your life to help the environment. If everyone was just a tiny bit more mindful about what they were buying, and throwing away would it make a world of difference. Seriously, just stop losing your lighters.

Tomorrow is Earth Day. To celebrate won’t you carve a little bit of time out of your day to take a walk and pick up some trash whenever you live? It doesn’t have to be a beach, and it doesn’t have to be a lot. Anything helps!

Quick FAQ – things that get asked every Found on the Beach post.

Do you keep the things you pick up? No way. Once in a while I’ll keep something I really think is neat but I’m no hoarder, I swear.
What do you do with it when you’re done? It goes where it should have gone in the first place.
Was this really all from the beach in one day? For the
most part, yes. Sometimes if I find something I really think is neat on a
day I’m not collecting for a photo I’ll pick it up and hang on to it
until the next time I want to put together one of these. 

Do you wear gloves? No, I don’t. These are things that
were washed up on the shore, not things simply left behind. They’re no
dirtier than the sand or water.

Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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  • You would have a field day in Roatan. A friend of mine runs an after school program there (SOL International Foundation) where they regularly do a beach cleanup program. They collected so many plastic bottle tops, they created a beautiful mural with them on the wall of their building. Since our girls were little, we've always made sure to grab our "tickets" when we leave the beach- we pick up as much garbage as we can at the end of the day. Since we get to enjoy the beach for free, it's a small price to pay for such a beautiful place to spend some time.

  • The microplastic and other marine debris situation here in Hawaii is pretty bad. I go to the beach almost every week and spend about 10 minutes picking up plastic and most people think I'm picking beach glass or shells, or just ignore the weird lady. A lot of the beach visitors are in serious vacation mode and maybe can't handle that their idyllic, expensive vacation has them literally sitting on plastic trash. More washes up every day and it can feel very overwhelming. I've found organizations/movements that do beach cleanups through Instagram – hashtags include #take3forthesea and #2minutebeachclean. Thank you for taking the time to pick up rubbish on your beach!

  • Actually, the comment above from Jen is so true! I was bought a gorgeous pen by Cross, a nice brand of pens as a leaving present from my previous job and I still have it 11 years on!
    You do a good thing, even here where you feel you aren't making a difference and I can't believe how much rubbish there is! You make something beautiful from something terrible!

    • I have a question – is there anywhere you can go to test super expensive pens? I'm very picky about pens and how they write. My current favorite pen of choice is like an $8 pen and that's about all I'd gamble on buying a pen without testing it first. So how did you know you'd like that pen before you took the leap? Did someone you know just happen to have one and you wanted it? Or is there an awesome pen testing service? LOL

  • I have a deep appreciation for individuals such as yourself who take pride in their communities. I regularly pick up trash on the stretch of road by my home that someone, who couldn't be bothered to dispose of it properly, has discarded.

  • You seem to visit loads of different beaches, and yet because I live in the city, the closest “beach” to me is either restricted to those who live in the neighborhood or 1 1/2 hours out of town. I don’t ever thing I’ve been a “beachy” kind of girl anyways, as I MUCH prefer walking around forests and viewing mountains… But then again, I don’t think I’ve had my fill of visiting enough beaches anyway!

    Kyia at WANDERLUSTGIRL// Lifestyle & Beauty
    Let’s be BLOGLOVIN friends!