Delaware Coastal Cleanup

Trash on our beaches and in our waterways isn’t just unsightly – it’s also potentially dangerous to marine life and in some cases harmful to water quality. The annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup offers volunteers an opportunity to help make a difference for Delaware’s shoreline and waterways while joining an international effort to clean up the world’s waters.

The Cleanup Has Been Postponed Until September 22

Due to uncertain weather conditions related to Hurricane Florence, DNREC has taken the precaution of postponing the Delaware Coastal Cleanup until Saturday, September 22 from 9:00 a.m. to noon, instead of this Saturday, September 15. Registered volunteers should plan to arrive at their site at 9:00 a.m. on September 22.

Watch this page, the DNREC FaceBook page, and the @YourDNREC twitter feed for updates.

Information & Registration

Volunteer Registration
(Registration has CLOSED.)
Cleanup Sites (List)
Cleanup Map (Below)


Joanna Wilson
DNREC Public Affairs

The 2018 Coastal Cleanup

Volunteers of all ages are invited to help make a difference by participating in the 31st annual Delaware Coastal Cleanup, to be held from 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, Sept. 22 (Postponed from Sept. 15).

Sponsored by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the cleanup spans the First State’s 97-mile eastern coastline and includes river and ocean shorelines as well as wetland and watershed areas. This year, more than 45 sites in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex counties are targeted.

Volunteer Registration

Registration for the 2018 Delaware Coastal Cleanup is now closed.

If you are a volunteer and have questions about your site in the 2018 Coastal Cleanup, please contact the zone captain in your area:

  • State Parks Statewide Zone Captain – Alison Romano, 302.900.1423
  • State Wildlife Areas Zone Captain – Lynne Pusey, 302.422.1329
  • Sussex Beach Sites Zone Captain – Jennifer Luoma  Pongratz, 302.739.9921
  • Kent County Bay Beach Sites Zone Captain – Colleen Holstein, 302.739.6377

1,500 Volunteers, 3.8 Tons of Trash in 2017

The 2017 cleanup marked the 30th anniversary of the Delaware Coastal Cleanup. On September 16, 2017, a force of 1,567 volunteers collected 3.8 tons of trash from 47 sites from Wilmington to Fenwick Island.

Some of the more unusual items found during the 2017 cleanup were: a wallet, wrist watch, cell phone, parmesan cheese shaker, a large heavy rug, a statue of the Virgin Mary, golf tee, ant trap, Big Wheel tire, cooler, garden hose, vacuum cleaner, trailer registration tag, toy bulldozer, green army men, half a driver’s license and credit card, handle bars, snow hat, mermaid doll, Mardi Gras beads, confetti, glowsticks, oil cans, multiple gas tanks and televisions, and, at one site, 205 liquor bottles.

Milford Neck cleanup

Beautifying the Bayshore

More than two dozen Coastal Cleanup sites are part of Delaware’s Bayshore, which encompasses the central part of the state’s shoreline east of Route 1, from New Castle and Delaware City in southern New Castle County to the Lewes/Cape Henlopen area of Sussex County. This unique region, with its quiet bay beaches, marshes, forests, wildlife areas and agricultural/residential lands, is the focus of the Delaware Bayshore Initiative, a landscape approach to conserving wildlife habitat, enhancing low-impact recreational opportunities and building strong communities through environmentally compatible economic development.

The Ocean Conservancy Connection

Delaware’s Cleanup is also part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest annual clearing of trash from coastlines and lakes by volunteers. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world help each year to rid the environment of marine debris and collect detailed information on the types and quantities of refuse.

The types and quantities of trash collected are recorded on data cards and forwarded to the Center for Marine Conservation, which compiles the information for all of the cleanups held in the country and around the world. This information helps identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it.

A recent marine debris report released by the Ocean Conservancy found that general-source marine debris – trash that comes from both ocean- and land-based activities – increased across the United States by more than five percent each year. (This report can be seen at

The Ocean Conservancy supplies trash bags, data cards and brochures on marine debris. Delaware’s cleanup is co-sponsored by Edgewell Personal Care/Playtex Manufacturing, which provides gloves, and Waste Management, which hauls trash and recyclables. DNREC is responsible for organizing the event, recruiting volunteers, distributing supplies, ensuring trash removal and tabulating all the data collected.

A Map of the Cleanup

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