It’s that time of year again, the time of year when people flock to the beach and all too often leave behind trash, especially cigarette butts. Luckily, we have companies like Volcom to encourage people to get out and clean up our beaches. On June 8, at the Northside of the Jax Pier from 5 to 7 p.m., Volcom will be hosting their beach cleanup for anyone who’d like to help out.

Not only will cleaning up the beaches give you a warm feeling inside, but you can also win free stuff! This year, Volcom is giving away a free pair of ELECTRIC sunglasses for the most cig butts picked up. For the first 25 volunteers, you can get a free Volcom “Cigg butts don’t surf” tee.

We recently did a little Q&A with Dane Jefferys, Volcom’s East Coast Marketing Coordinator, to ask him about all the dirty details in this annual beach cleanup.

Void: Give me a little backstory on how this event first began.

Dane: This event started 9 years ago in conjunction with the Keepers of the Coast from St. Augustine. Volcom and the Keepers of the Coast got together and decided enough was enough. We had to come up with a cool, interactive way to combat the growing liter problem along our beaches.

When you go to beaches around the world, there are reasons why they are clean. The local community works hard to educate beachgoers about the importance of keeping the beaches clean. We felt like that was missing here in Jax Beach and in St. Augustine.

When people would come from town, they wouldn’t know that it wasn’t alright to leave their trash laying on the beach. They thought someone would come up behind them and pick it up. The first couple of years it was all about educating and getting a crew of people together multiple times during the summer to help pick up trash. We would walk up to large groups of people and remind them to pick up after themselves.

What is the reasoning behind it?

We wanted to make sure the ocean and all of the species that call the beach home had a clean and healthy place to live. We also thought that educating the uniformed would help with the problem.

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Cig butts are the most littered item in the world, with an estimated 5.5 trillion discarded each year.

What is ultimately the goal of the event? What do you want it to accomplish?

The ultimate goal is to raise awareness about the amount of trash that is left on our beach each day. Around the pier on any given day you can pick up bags and bags of trash after everyone heads home and so many cig butts you could spend hours and never get them all.

The #ciggbuttchallenge was started because the amount of cig butts that were found the first couple of years. According to multiple sources, cig butts are actually the most littered item in the WORLD with an estimated 5.5 TRILLION discarded each year and they continue to top the charts in most beach cleanups. According to Keep America Beautiful, “the overall litter rate for tobacco products is 65 percent and tobacco products comprise 38 percent of all roadway litter.”

Butts are a compressed, plasticized cellulose acetate (a form of plastic) wrapped in paper so even as they start to break down, they are releasing toxins (all that stuff they filtered) into the environment, damaging organisms, waterways and more. Studies vary saying it could take up to 10 years for butts to degrade, while other studies say the filter material will never fully degrade.

This year, Volcom is giving away a $1,000 Volcom shopping spree to the person who shows us they care about the cleanliness of their beach.

Rules to enter:

  • Must tag @Volcom_East, #Ciggbuttchallenge
  • Photo or video posts will be accepted on Instagram,
  • Contest runs July 1st-August 20th.
  • The best display of keeping cigarette butts of our beach wins! Get creative!
  • Tag your favorite @Volcom retailer to win the shopping spree at their store

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