found on the beach

by Kaylah Stroup

beach plastic, plastic pollution, lake erie, the dainty squid

Back in the beginning of May, my best friend who lives in Canada and her family came up to visit. We had a busy weekend of eating and watching her kids play at the park. Ya know, super important stuff! We also made it a point to head to the beach.  Obviously, it’s one of my favorite spots in the city but her son, Milo, had brought me some beach glass from Croatia so we needed to find him some from Lake Erie.

I hadn’t planned on making an arrangement since they do take a bit of time and I didn’t want to make anyone wait around on me. Buuuut then I noticed Elycia was picking up random colorful bits and bobs. On top of that, I overheard her say something to Milo about laying things out in color order. It was on!

PS. For anyone interested, my sandals are Teva and I LOVE them. They’re like walking on clouds.

I guess that makes this my first collaborative beach trash arrangement. Half picked by Elycia, half picked by me plus a few bonus pieces Milo handed to us that he thought were neat. I think it turned out pretty darn awesome. I’m very happy with how the photos turned out as well, especially the one below. I love that you can see Cleveland in the background.

great lakes plastic pollution, cleveland beach

Before we left Elycia mentioned to me how she starting picking things up when we arrived originally because she just wanted to help clean up. She quickly realized that there’s just too much of it.

It sounds so pessimistic to say that it doesn’t matter but there really is so much that picking up even 49 lighters doesn’t make a dent. More will wash up tomorrow, or even later the same day. The issue isn’t that people are leaving things on the beach (although I’m sure lots of people leave litter there after seeing the condition.) These are all things that get washed ashore from the lake. According to this article I found, 22 million pounds of plastic enters the Great Lakes each year. Lake Erie receives 5.5 million of those! Picking up trash on the beach is great but the only real solution is prevention. It seems like an overwhelming task but even something as simple as using a reusable straw helps! Check out these two sites for more info on just how huge of a problem plastic straws actually are – strawless ocean + the last plastic straw.

Also, if you’d like a better idea of what the trash on the beach actually looks like outside the frame of my pretty little arrangements, I recommend checking out this post + this one too.

Favorite finds of the day! I apparently hit the toy cowboy jackpot. I’ve never seen a single one on the beach so finding two was a treat. My collection of plastic figures is getting pretty large. I’ll have to show y’all sometime soon…


If you like my ‘found on the beach’ collections – prints, phone cases, and more can be found here. Handmade zipper pouches + postcards can be found here.

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