found on the beach

by Kaylah Stroup

beach plastic, rainbow trash, lake erie, wendy park

This is a little bit different than my normal found on the beach arrangements. There weren’t too many large items on the beach to be picked up. Woo! The city does a decent job of keeping larger debris off the beach during the warm months. They use a backhoe to push everything to one end where they then scoop it all into a huge dumpster (…that lives on the beach.) It’s better than nothing, and it definitely makes the beach look a lot nicer.

Even with the big pieces of trash gone, tiny pieces of plastic will always be a problem. It mixes in the with sand and is essentially impossible to clean up. Approximately 60 billion pounds of nurdles are manufactured in the US each year. (How many nurdles in a pound? 25,000!!!) Nurdles are small plastic pellets that make nearly all of our plastic products. Accidental spills, and deliberate dumping mean that tons of them end up in the water, on our shores, and in the bellies of marine animals. This isn’t just Lake Erie, it’s everywhere!

nurdles, beach trash, beach plastic, rainbow trash, lake erie, wendy park

You can regularly spot lots of nurdles in my beach photos. Lots of whats in the photos in this post is just random pieces of plastic that have broken off of other things but if you look closely in the yellow and orange section you’ll spot lots of them. Tan ones, which don’t work so well in my little rainbow arrangement, pose the biggest threat since they look a lot like plankton to animals. Its a HUGE issue thats only getting worse as we rely more and more on one-time use items.

I’m not telling you this because I’ve quit using plastic and want to make you feel guilty. I’m just as much to blame as everyone else. I didn’t start picking up trash on the beach because I wanted to help the environment. I started because I like arranging things, and finding “treasure”. The beach just ended up being a great place for me to find things to photograph. I feel a bit guilty when anyone pats me on the back for helping clean the beaches because I know deep down picking up plastic army men and other interesting items doesn’t really help much of anything.

beach plastic, rainbow trash, lake erie, wendy park, flotsam army

The amount of time I’ve spent on the beach, seeing what a mess we humans are making of it, has definitely made me stop to think about what I can do to help. I could go on and on listing off shocking statistics but honestly, I don’t think anything will effect you that way that seeing it in person would. I encourage you to get out and check out your local beaches. Start by familiarizing yourself with the issue… and maybe try using a reusable shopping bag. We’ve made a huge mess but if we all pitch in we can help clean it up before its too late.

Check out more ‘found on the beach” posts here!
If you’d like to read more about nurdles check out some of these links from across the internet – plastic pollution: nurdles, this incredibly informative video (highly recommended) and this article on the BBC.

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Jamie June 15, 2017 - 10:16 am

Coming to your blog today I thought, just like I think every single time that maybe you would have something new, and different. Hell maybe even a “favorite things” list, or a personal post about your animals, or Jeff. But alas, again it was beach trash. Just like the other 30 beach trash posts I have read before, I don’t even need to read it to know what you said. It’s your blog, and you are free to post whatever you want, but please get some new content for the sake of your readers.

Kaylah June 16, 2017 - 7:46 am

Why don’t you find a new blog to read if you no longer enjoy this one? No one is forcing you to come here day after day. I love picking up and photographing beach trash, it soothes my soul. It’s something that makes me happy. I also think this particular post has a very important message. I’m going to continue to write about this, and whatever sparks my interests whether you think it’s interesting or not.

Go write the blog you want to read. Do something that makes you happy, and please, stop reading my blog if you don’t enjoy it. 🙂

Allie June 15, 2017 - 10:27 am

Your message is very important and I 100% agree BUT I also can’t stop laughing at the word “nurdle” because I’m five years old.

Kaylah June 16, 2017 - 7:33 am

Hahaha! It really is such a silly word.

Sam June 15, 2017 - 11:01 am

Plastic is the worst! I am terrible, though. I DO think about it and try to buy things that will last a long time but I’m still always forgetting bags to go shopping with and having to get more. And I still drink from plastic bottles, though I do try to re-use them and re-cycle. Still, I wish our culture would change and stop this outpour of waste 🙁 Good post! x

Kaylah June 16, 2017 - 7:36 am

I think it’s important to just be mindful. Re-using that water bottle might not make the biggest impact but its better than nothing. It’s a step in the right direction and thats what counts. 🙂

Sarah June 15, 2017 - 9:49 pm

I love your beach creations! There are a lot of creeks around where I live that are always cluttered with trash. It first glance it doesn’t look like all that much, but the closer I look the more I see. I can’t believe how much trash is cluttering our world!

Kaylah June 16, 2017 - 7:31 am

Such a bummer! 👎

Otter June 18, 2017 - 6:19 pm

Yes!! Love the message of this post – plastic is definitely hard to cut down on but there are a couple of really easy things people can to start!!

hello haha narf June 22, 2017 - 11:54 am

wow, that first army crawl photo and the first gun photo need to be in frames. badass!

Kemari July 9, 2017 - 4:58 am

Great finds, the pink toy gun has got to be my favourite! I’m even more excited to go to Lake Erie to hunt more beach glass.

This guy ranks Lake Erie Beach glass by color rarity, it’s pretty interesting.

50 Everyday Adventures + Adventure Tips | Uncustomary August 8, 2018 - 5:58 pm

[…] guide to getting started) 41. Go to a beach in the off-season and collect seashells or trash and organize it by color 42. Buy some kaleidoscope glasses and wear them while you explore a local museum 43. Have a Zine […]

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