For us, summer is synonymous with beach. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with the Surfrider Foundation this season, supporting its mission to protect our shores through a limited-edition collab of seaside-ready essentials and a local beach cleanups in NYC and LA.

We took field trips to Rockaway Beach in New York and Venice Beach in California, swapping our computer screens for ocean views so we could get our hands dirty, er sandy, cleaning up the beach.

Armed with recycled paper bags (some formerly held beer ingredients, others home improvement supplies—reuse, reuse, reuse) for trash collecting and clipboards for recording our finds, Team Madewell was all set to go. Unfortunately, plastic, one of the worst polluters on our planet, was pretty prevalent on the beach—we picked up 1,515 fragments of it, along with just over 1,000 food wrappers. Some less expected finds? A glow stick, a pair of flip-flops and 25 deflated balloons.

In just a few hours, our small-but-mighty team picked up 4,337 pieces of trash, weighing in at a hefty 132.4 pounds. While we’re proud to have played a small part in the Surfrider Foundation’s mission, it only goes to show how much more work there is to be done to keep our beaches safe and clean.

Luckily, we did come away from the cleanup with a few tips we all can use to help the cause:

– Reusable totes are the way to go. Just say no to plastic shopping bags.
– No more throwaway coffee cups or single-use plastic water bottles. Invest in a reusable bottle or to-go mug—so worth it.
– Make single-use plastic a thing of the past. Ask for no straw when you’re ordering a drink, stash reusable utensils in your bag, be more mindful about how stuff is packaged and how you can reduce excess.

Ready to get in on the wave-saving action? Learn more about the Surfrider Foundation here. And if you want to rep Surfrider all summer long, shop our exclusive collection made in support of their work to protect our beaches here.