Coastal Cleanup Day | San Diego County

Volunteer for the county's largest single-day environmental cleanup!

Event Details

Sept 23 (9AM – 12PM)

List of site options will be available when registration opens on Sept 1


About Coastal Cleanup Day

I Love A Clean San Diego has served as the official organizer of Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego County since it was founded in 1985. The event is a major part of International Coastal Cleanup, which is facilitated by The Ocean Conservancy and includes many U.S. states and territories, and over 70 countries. In California, data is reported to the California Coastal Commission as part of the international cleanup efforts. You are joining hundreds of thousands of volunteers all over the world to remove pollution from our ecosystems!

Over 269,000
Over 5 Million
POUNDS OF LITTER & DEBRIS Removed Since 1985

Why Volunteer?

80% of all coastal pollution begins inland

By 2050, there could be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans if we don’t defend our waterways from litter

Because we LOVE where we live

Get Involved

Anyone can do it! Volunteer as an individual, with friends and family or as a corporate team. All ages welcome. You can also help Coastal Cleanup Day by donating directly through the orange button!



Report Your Data

An important part of this event is collecting litter totals and weight estimates from all volunteers who participate! This data is key to implementing important habit changes, educating our county residents, and influencing policy changes. The location you clean up and litter totals you report will be feed into the world’s largest marine debris database.

Last year’s collected reports revealed that the top three (identifiable) littered items in San Diego County were…

Cigarette butts (186,241 reported)

Food wrappers (6,859 reported)

Bottle caps (4,449 reported)

With this information we are hoping you are inspired to make an impact in your circle! Look into TerraCycle a free program that recycles cigarette butts, try some new recipes and skip the prepackaged snacks and always make sure you screwed your bottle cap back on to the empty bottle so it will be recycled together! Changing habits can change the world!

Thank You to Our Partners

I Love A Clean San Diego thanks our valued partners for helping make Coastal Cleanup Day 2022 a success. If you would like to join the community of businesses that support this event, please contact Steve Morris at






In Kind

Interested in becoming a corporate partner with 2023
Coastal Cleanup Day or an upcoming I Love A Clean
San Diego event? Please contact us.

Kristin Banks

Regional Programs Manager

Caroline Stillitano

Regional Programs Coordinator

Steve Morris

Corporate Partnerships & Media

Contact Us

Main Office

5797 Chesapeake Court
Suite 200
San Diego, CA, 92123

Coordinator's Phone Number

(619) 704-2772


  • Q: How can I get involved or show my support?

    There are many ways to support the efforts of Coastal Cleanup Day with I Love A Clean San Diego…

    • Volunteering on the day – choose from any of the cleanup sites around the county
    • Volunteering to be a site captain and lead the cleanup yourself for members of the public
    • Donating – financial support or giveaways/supplies for our volunteers
    • Sponsoring the event
    • Promoting the event and spreading the message
  • Q: Where will sites be located?

    Coastal Cleanup Day will have cleanup sites throughout San Diego County but will not be posted until registration opens on Sept 1. Before then sites are still in the process of being finalized. When they are posted you will be able to pick a site of your choosing through our Community Hub portal. Registrations open Sept 1, 2023. 

  • Q: What is a site captain?

    Coastal Cleanup Day is a countywide cleanup effort that encompasses around 100 different sites throughout San Diego County – each one lead by a site captain for the public. As a site captain, you will lead your site on the day of the event. I Love A Clean San Diego provides the supplies, additional outreach, website coordination for volunteer registration, and hauling for the trash and debris collected (if necessary). Before the event, site captains are responsible for picking up the supplies from our office. Site captains are asked to scout their location and choose where the meeting location is within I Love A Clean San Diego’s deadlines. On the day of the event, site captains collect waivers from volunteers, pass out supplies, give an informational/safety talk and then keep a record of the trash & debris totals to report back to us by 1pm the day of the event. Any extra supplies will just be drop in front of the office anytime. If you are interested in being a site captain please email Kristin (

  • Q: How do I prepare? What should I wear?

    Volunteers should wear closed toed shoes, have some form of sun protection (hat and/or sunscreen) as well as bring a water bottle or two! Volunteers in canyon locations with exposure to poison oak should wear light weight long pants and long sleeves for protection. Site captains will have gloves and trash bags on site for all registered volunteers but if you would like to be zero waste champions we would recommend bring reusable garden gloves and a bucket.

  • Q: Do I have to print out a waiver?

    We encourage you to print, review and sign the waiver of liability and turn it in to the site captain on the day. This makes the check-in process go quicker! However it is not required to have beforehand, there will be hard copy waivers on the day for you to sign if you don’t have a printer or forgot! Everyone under 18 will need a parent or legal guardian to sign the waiver for them, this can be done in advance by printing at home or on the day of the event.

  • Q: What site should I pick? Which sites have the most trash?

    Our site map (which is posted Sept 1 with registration opening) shows all the locations we are hosting for the event. It is broken down into sections to help make it easier to search an area you would like to volunteer in. Furthermore each site is listed with the name of the city it is located in first, to help volunteers better understand the location at a glance. Typically coastal sites tend to have less need, this is because these locations are the most popular to support. A week before the event, sites that are in need of more volunteer help will be listed as a “hot opportunity” and can be filtered for in the search categories of the Community Hub portal. However every single site would benefit from litter collection, even the smallest pieces can pollute and destroy the ecosystems around them.

  • Q: How do I register? Can I register as a family or a group?

    Registration opens Sept 1, this is when you will be able to see all the site options. To register you must create an account on our Community Hub. From there you can pick any location you would like and register as an individual or for a whole group when you click the blue sign up button on the specific location’s webpage.

    Here are the step by step instructions for registering a group:

    • Select “Group” when you click the blue sign up button on your specific location’s webpage.
    • In the pop up box type under the instructions select the group you want to register by their name.
    • Next put your group size (including yourself).
    • In Step 3 if the information looks good select “Reserve and Invite”.
    • The URL link should be shared with all the members of your group that you just registered for that event (send it over email or Facebook message). If you get emailed any more information about the event it is your responsibility to forward that information to your group members.
    • If more or less of your group members will be coming to the event you can adjust the numbers by going back to the “Dashboard” page and scrolling down to your “Upcoming Schedule”.
    • Find the event you want to adjust and click on the “Change Group Info” link to prompt the original pop up box to appear. Change the information you need to by clicking through the steps and adjusting the values you put in originally. You can also remove your group and yourself if needed.
  • Q: What is a service project?

    All of Coastal Cleanup Day’s cleanup sites focus on litter abatement, but some locations offer additional service projects. Service project examples include, graffiti removal, invasive plant species removal, weeding/brush removal, native plant planting, and trail maintenance.

    Invasive plant species are species that have been introduced to San Diego County from another region in the world and have negative impacts on our native ecosystems. They compete for resources and aren’t limited by predation. This reduces biodiversity, can cause extinctions of native plants and animals, and changes habitats. An example of a prominent invasive species in San Diego County is mustard seed. Mustard seed grows in an earlier season and pushes all the native seedlings out. It has a deeper root system that sucks up all the available water so our native flowers dry out. This native Eurasia plant, covers our entire hillside and can catch fire easily because it doesn’t have any of the fire resistant qualities native scrub brush does. This interrupts the natural cycle at a cost to all plants, animals, and humans. By removing invasive species and planting native species; we are restoring a system that has develop over millions of years to work in harmony.

    Graffiti removal, weeding/brush removal and general trail work may at first seem unrelated to a healthy watershed but in fact many studies have been conducted connecting a beautifully-cared-for place with lower levels of litter. If a person were to come by a tagged park with unkept trails and neglected equipment, they may feel less guilty about leaving trash behind implying “no one cares, why should I?” By helping tidy and maintain our local areas, society as a whole will feel more responsible for keeping them clean.

    Our events at I Love A Clean San Diego align with our mission to promote healthy watersheds throughout the County for everyone to enjoy. To find out what unique service projects are offered, and any special instructions for them, head to your site sign up page in the Community Hub.

  • Q: Does this count for community service? What about court-ordered service?

    This event does qualify for community service hours and court ordered hours at all the designated cleanup locations. In order to receive volunteer hours, service forms and Letter of Appreciation, volunteer will need to be:

    • Registered for the event through I Love A Clean San Diego’s Community Hub.
    • Participate in the cleanup
    • Capture a photo of your active participation in the cleanup
    • Log your hours and complete the logbook survey post cleanup through your profile on Community Hub (this is where you can request a Letter of Appreciation)

    Site captains will also have a hard copy available on site upon request.

  • Q: How will we know our impact?

    Coastal Cleanup Day is unique in that it is not only a countywide cleanup effort in San Diego but it is part of an even large worldwide cleanup called International Coastal Cleanup Day! Volunteers all around the world are working for organizations (just like I Love A Clean San Diego) who then submit the data collected to the Ocean Conservancy. They compel all of this data into the largest marine debris database in existence. That information is used to help educate policy markers locally and globally!

    At I Love A Clean San Diego, you will see our dedicated site captains totaling all the information their individual volunteers gathered. We will update our website to reflect how much litter you all removed from our watersheds in just one day!

  • Q: How old do I have to be to volunteer?

    Any age is welcome to join! Only persons over the age of 13 can make an account but anyone with an account can register a group. Some locations are not kid friendly and have been noted on the location’s specific webpage. Please read the webpage closely to make sure it is a good fit for your family.

  • Q: Can my Troop get patches for participating?

    I Love A Clean San Diego is proud to offer scout troops and interested volunteers a commemorative patch to recognize your volunteerism and participation.

    Patches are available by request while supplies last after the cleanup. Volunteers will have to log their hours on the online portal to be eligible and a donation of a couple of dollars is encouraged so we can keep the patch program going for future events. Volunteers will be able to request a patch after the event is completed through our Patch Request Form link which will be posted in October.