This year’s Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control-sponsored 30th annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup, held Sept. 16, drew 1,567 volunteers, who collected 3.8 tons of trash from 47 sites along more than 75 miles of Delaware’s waterways and coastline stretching from Wilmington to Fenwick Island.
About one-quarter of that trash was recyclables — mostly aluminum cans and glass and plastic beverage bottles.
DNREC organizes the annual cleanup with co-sponsors including the Ocean Conservancy; Edgewell Personal Care/Playtex Manufacturing Inc., which donates gloves; and Waste Management, which hauls trash and recyclables collected by volunteers.
Unusual items found during this year’s cleanup included a wallet, wrist watch, a cellphone, parmesan cheese shaker, a large heavy rug, a statue of the Virgin Mary, golf tee, ant trap and a Big Wheel tire.
Some items were notable in their numbers. Statewide, volunteers picked up 16,158 cigarette butts, up from 2016’s total of 13,577. Balloons increased from 654 to 933. Other items included 397 fireworks, 289 spent shotgun shells and 2,671 plastic bags.
More than 22,126 pieces of food/beverage-related trash were picked up. Notable numbers included 4,580 food wrappers; 4,636 plasticbottle caps; 993 lids; 1,898 straws; 2,815 plastic beverage bottles; 1,958 beverage cans; 1,004 glass bottles; and 4,242 paper, plastic and foam cups, plates and take-out containers.