Coastal Cleanup Day—Every Saturday in September

Coastal Clean-up Day is still ON for 2020!  There have been some changes to help us stay safe during COVID-19 while keeping our oceans clean.

What is coastal cleanup day? It’s an annual event where communities across the world come together, to protect our coasts by cleaning up our neighborhoods or natural areas. This year, the City of Goleta is still partnering with the County of Santa Barbara, Explore Ecology, and other local jurisdictions. But instead of gathering together at beaches and sites throughout the County on a single day, cleanups will happen every Saturday in September in our local neighborhoods, and we can use technology to collaborate. Even though we are using social distancing, there is a great new app that can help us track how well we are doing as a community, and globally! Use the Clean Swell App to report the different kinds and amounts of trash you find! There are other ways to submit your trash data, find out more at Explore Ecology’s website here.

Community members are encouraged to clean up their neighborhood or favorite open space every Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to Noon on September 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th.

Your cleanups should be self-guided and close to home. Local parks, shores, creeks, streets, drainage areas, sidewalks, natural areas, and trails are great choices. Practice physical distancing and strictly follow both local ordinances and the set of guidelines provided on the California Coastal Commission website to make this a safe cleanup for you and your community.

Guidance for Neighborhood Cleanups

To protect your health and slow the spread of the coronavirus, please follow the most recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, available here. We also include guidance from the Coastal Commission in the steps below. Here’s how you can get started:


  • If you have a smartphone, download the CleanSwell app (from Ocean Conservancy, available for free on all platforms) to keep track of what you pick up and how many people participated with you. You can download it ahead of time. Create an account and you are ready to go.
  • Enter in “Explore Ecology-Goleta” in the “group,” and we can track our progress as a city and regionally. Learn more at Explore Ecology’s website here.
  • Stay tuned for useful tips on social media: Facebook (@CityofGoleta)Twitter (@GoletaPIO), and Instagram (@CityofGoleta).
  • If you are sick in any way, DO NOT go out for a cleanup.
  • Assemble your own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): face covering, gloves, and make sure to wear close-toed shoes to protect against sharp objects. Don’t forget hand sanitizer, water and sunscreen!
  • To reduce waste, bring your own buckets and other reusable cleanup supplies to lessen the plastic footprint. We recommend separate buckets or bins for trash and recyclables.


  • Maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from everyone you encounter, even if you are wearing a face covering.
  • ALWAYS wear gloves – disposable if available – and dispose or wash them immediately after your cleanup.
  • Avoid touching any surfaces like railings, benches, etc.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Do not pick up sharp objects, especially syringes!
  • If you clean up a local beach or waterway, be mindful of the conditions (such as high tide, sneaker wave warnings, etc.), and be careful near the water’s edge.
  • Keep a safe distance from all wildlife!
  • Use the CleanSwell app to enter in your trash items as you pick them up. Be safe! It’s advised that you dedicate one household member to using the app, and the others to collecting trash. If you’re on your own, it’s best to enter in information after you’ve completed pickups and sorted your items.
  • Unfortunately, you may find used gloves, face coverings, and other personal protective equipment (PPE) among litter. DO NOT PICK UP ANY PPE without a grabber. Put all PPE litter in a separate disposable bag. 
  • Show us your cleanup! Post your pictures using our “Protect Your Happy Place” filter on Instagram and Facebook and see how your community is participating. You can even post through the CleanSwell app. Use the hashtags #protectyourhappyplace and #coastalcleanupmonth. Although we can’t meet in person this year, we can stay connected virtually. Tag the City of Goleta and Explore Ecology: @CityofGoletaGovernment and @SBCoast (Facebook) and @GoletaPIO and @ExploreEcology (Instagram), in your posts!
  • Email us your best pictures for a chance to be on Goleta’s facebook page and Environmental Services web page! Send you pictures to


  • If possible, weigh or estimate the pounds of trash and recyclables you collected during your cleanup to report to your local coordinator or the Coastal Commission. If you don’t have a scale, that’s ok, the CleanSwell app will estimate weight for you as you collect.
  • Submit your data! If using the app, tally up the different items, then click “Done collecting,” and follow the prompts. If not using the app, then report data on Explore Ecology’s website under “Submit Data”.
  • Separate into trash and recycling. Dispose of trash in your home debris bin.
  • Dispose or wash gloves immediately after your cleanup. To properly remove disposable gloves, grab the glove opening near your wrist and pull towards your fingers, then turn the glove inside out before disposing. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly as soon as possible, and use hand sanitizer in the meantime if soap and water are unavailable.

For more information, visit the Explore Ecology website.

Have fun and remember, safety first!