Our Daily Ocean


Since August of 2010, I've been choosing a random beach access at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina to do a 20 minute beach clean up.  During the 20 minutes, we remove ALL of the litter from the beach that we find.  We take care that we're not bringing more trash to the beach by using reusable buckets and a reusable tote bag to carry the litter we find off of the beach.  I then weigh the litter for The Daily Ocean Community Count and count the amount of cigarette butts that we find.  

This project was started to help bring awareness to the problem of cigarette litter on Wrightsville Beach. By documenting and collecting cigarette butts in a specified amount of time throughout the year, I was able to convey that the problem was year round and unrelenting.  With my documentation, I became involved in a successful campaign that ended with the residents of Wrightsville Beach voting to make the WB beach strand the first smoke-free beach in North Carolina.

The following is a month by month account of the amount of litter we picked up by weight and the amount of cigarette butts removed from the beach during 20 minute increments.  As this project was originally created to help raise awareness to a problem, it has now evolved to show how beach smoking bans can (and do) help reduce cigarette litter.  That being said, included below are also the monthly averages as well as yearly averages for the amount of cigarette butts removed.

August 2010:  beach cleanups 1-6 (6 cleanups)

Litter removed by weight: 8 lbs 7.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,744    Average per cleanup: 291 cigarette butts

September 2010: beach cleanups 7-12 (6 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 10 lbs 3 oz
Cigarette butts: 4,603  Average per cleanup: 767

October 2010: beach cleanups 13- 16 (4 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 4 lbs 4.7 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,279   Average per cleanup: 320 

November 2010: beach cleanups 17-24 (8 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 6 lbs 1.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 2,773  Average per cleanup: 347

December 2010: beach cleanups 25- 34  (10 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 13 lbs 11.6 oz
Cigarette butts: 2,480  Average per cleanup: 248

Average cigarette butts removed per cleanup August- December 2010 (34 cleanups): 379

January 2011: beach cleanups 35-40  (6 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 5 lbs 12.3oz
Cigarette butts: 1,187  Average per cleanup: 198

February 2011: beach cleanups 41-47 (7 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 4 lbs 15.4 oz
Cigarette butts: 750  Average per cleanup: 107

March 2011:  beach cleanups 48-52 (5 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 5 lbs 10.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 787  Average per cleanup: 157

April 2011: beach cleanups 53-59 (7 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 31 lbs 8.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,334  Average per cleanup: 191

May 2011:  beach cleanups 60-70  (11 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 33 lbs 14 oz
Cigarette butts: 4,155  Average per cleanup: 378

June 2011: beach cleanups 71-75 (5 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 8 lbs 11.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,362  Average per cleanup: 272

July 2011: beach cleanups 76-82  (7 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 28 lbs 8.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 2,472  Average per cleanup: 353


August 2011: beach cleanups 83-93 (11 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 29 lbs 1.7 oz
Cigarette butts: 3,317  Average per cleanup: 302

September 2011:  beach cleanups 94-100 (7 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 23 lbs 6.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 6,897  Average per cleanup: 985

October 2011:  beach cleanups 101- 103 (3 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 4 lbs 4.6 oz
Cigarette butts: 505  Average per cleanup: 168

November 2011:  beach cleanups 104-106 (3 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 2 lbs 9.6 oz
Cigarette butts: 726  Average per cleanup: 242

December 2011:  beach cleanups 107-111 (5 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 3 lbs 2 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,303  Average per cleanup: 261 

Average cigarette butts removed per cleanup January- December 2011 (77 cleanups): 322

January 2012: beach cleanups 112- 115 (4 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 5 lbs 13.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 947  Average per cleanup: 237

February 2012: beach cleanups 116-121  (6 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 5 lbs 9.7 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,810  Average per cleanup: 302

March 2012:  beach cleanups 122-129 (8 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 10 lbs 4.4 oz
Cigarette butts: 2,341  Average per cleanup: 293

April 2012: beach cleanups 130-135 (6 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 15 lbs 1.6 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,846  Average per cleanup: 308

May 2012: beach cleanups 136-142  (7 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 7 lbs 3.2 oz
Cigarette butts: 948  Average per cleanup: 135

June 2012: beach cleanups 143-145 (3 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 8 lbs 8 oz
Cigarette butts: 809  Average per cleanup: 270

July 2012: beach cleanups 146-151 (6 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 12 lbs 11.6 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,013  Average per cleanup: 169

August 2012: beach cleanups 152-155 (4 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 7 lbs 13 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,227  Average per cleanup: 307

September 2012: beach cleanups 156-159 (4 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 4 lbs 7.6 oz
Cigarette butts: 1,260  Average per cleanup: 315

October 2012: beach cleanups 160-167 (8 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 8 lbs 7.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 2,061  Average per cleanup: 258

November 2012: beach cleanups 168- 170 (3 cleanups) WB voted Smoke-Free Beach

Litter by weight: 3 lbs 13.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 412  Average per cleanup: 137

December 2012: beach cleanup 171 (1 cleanup)

Litter by weight: 7.5 oz
Cigarette butts: 275  Average per cleanup: 275

Average cigarette butts removed per cleanup January- December 2012 (60 cleanups): 249

January 2013: beach cleanups 172-178 (7 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 6 lbs 8.8oz
Cigarette butts: 879  Average per cleanup: 126

February 2013: beach cleanup 179 (1 cleanup)  New signage installed: No Smoking

Litter by weight: 1 lb 3.9 oz
Cigarette butts: 81  Average per cleanup: 81

March 2013: cleanups 180-181 (2 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 3 lbs 1.4 oz
Cigarette butts: 349  Average per cleanup: 175

April 2013: cleanups 182-184 (3 cleanups)  

Litter by weight: 3 lbs 7.7 oz
Cigarette butts: 148  Average per cleanup: 49

May 2013: cleanups 185-188 (4 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 14 lbs .7 oz
Cigarette butts: 187  Average per cleanup: 47

June 2013: cleanups 189-190 (2 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 4 lbs 7.7 oz
Cigarette butts: 53  Average per cleanup: 27

July 2013: cleanups 191-193 (3 cleanups) 

Litter by weight: 2 lb 3.6 oz  
Cigarette butts: 203  Average per cleanup: 68

August 2013: cleanups 194- 199 (6 cleanups)


Litter by weight: 7 lbs 14.9oz
Cigarette butts: 413  Average per cleanup: 69

September 2013: cleanups 200- 204 (5 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 1 lb 6.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 315  Average per cleanup: 63

October 2013: cleanups 205- 213 (9 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 7 lbs .2 oz
Cigarette butts: 540  Average per cleanup: 60

November 2013: cleanups 214- 218 (5 cleanups) 

Litter by weight: 1 lb 6.2 oz
Cigarette butts: 319  Average per cleanup: 64

December 2013: cleanups 219- 227 (9 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 3 lbs 15.5 oz
Cigarette butts: 521  Average per cleanup: 58


Average cigarette butts removed per cleanup January- December 2013 (56 cleanups): 72


January 2014: cleanups 228- 230  (3 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 14.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 263   Average per cleanup: 88


February 2014: cleanups 231- 236  (6 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 4 lbs 12.9 oz
Cigarette butts: 110   Average per cleanup: 18

March 2014:  cleanups 237- 240 (4 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 4 lbs 9.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 105   Average per cleanup: 26

April 2014:  cleanups 241 (1 cleanup)

Litter by weight: 1 lb 1.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 11   Average per cleanup: 11


May 2014:  cleanups 242- 247  (6 cleanups)

Litter by weight: 5 lbs .9 oz
Cigarette butts: 107   Average per cleanup: 18

June 2014:  cleanups 248- 249  (2 cleanups)


Litter by weight: 11.5 oz
Cigarette butts: 5   Average per cleanup: 3

July 2014:  cleanups 250-  (4 cleanups)


Litter by weight: 5 lbs 15.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 209  Average per cleanup: 52

Average cigarette butts removed per cleanup January- July 2014 (26 cleanups): 31