What We Find

People have been curious about what kinds of trash we find at the beach. Much of it is little plastic scraps and broken pieces, and it's impossible to tell what it once was. And some of the things we can identify are no surprise: for example, plastic caps from plastic water or soda bottles are what we pick up the most of. Followed closely by cigarette butts. (And whose brilliant idea was it to add a chunk of single-use plastic to cigarettes, when most smokers seem to just drop their butts on the ground?)

I'm not sure what some of this stuff is. Here's an item I'm curious about--we find plenty of them, and maybe someone out there knows what they are. Some have suggested they're shotgun shells, which is what I wondered when we first came across them, and that might be right.  They're the right size, and they look like they exploded. But the only shotgun shells I've ever come across are solid tubes, like the last image here, and we find a fair number of those also. 

I'm surprised by a few of our regular finds. Example: earplugs. The little soft rubber kind, like my mom uses to block out my dad's snoring so he doesn't have to sleep in the bathtub. We find dozens of these things. This photo is just one day's worth, because they're not hard enough to be ideal Critter materials, so they generally go with the "soft trash" we collect to dispose of properly. Do people on boats and beaches really have that many things to plug their ears against? (Well, maybe it's all those shotgun shells they're shooting off....)

And then there's dental floss. Toothbrushes too, but mostly those little throw-away flossers. (Which are another brilliantly unnecessary use for single-use plastic, really; my fingers seem to hold dental floss just fine.) I would never have expected to find so many of those among the trash at the beach, but we apparently spend lots of time flossing our teeth. Which speaks well of our oral hygiene as a nation. Not so well of our ocean hygiene, however. 

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