PRESS RELEASE: Save the Sound Releases 2023 Connecticut Cleanup Data

Save the Sound’s new 2023 infographic looks at another year of Connecticut Cleanup data and continuing trends in trash. Save the Sound has been the official Connecticut coordinator for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup for the past 22 years and is committed to a trash-free Long Island Sound region. 

Present in our region’s streams, marshes, parks, and beaches, large pieces of plastic suffocate marine life while small ones carry toxins that accumulate in the fish that we consume—and all of it poses a severe threat to ecosystem health. 

Our 2023 Connecticut Cleanup infographic highlights the four most prominent trash types found during our cleanup program last year, highlighting both the scale and impact of litter in the state. This data—which is collected yearly by volunteers like you and includes types of trash, number of pieces, total weight, and more—is used to advocate for policy change not only in our region but across the world as part of Ocean Conservancy’s global report. 

“The cleanup infographic is an important tool,” says Annalisa Paltauf, who coordinates Save the Sound’s cleanup program. “It provides the public with an accessible way to view and comprehend our yearly cleanup data, while at the same time illuminating the scale of trash present in our environments.”

Annalisa Paltauf, right, gathers trash with a cleanup volunteer

2023 was a year of significant rainfall. While 87 cleanups were scheduled, only 75 took place, and many cleanups saw fewer volunteers (though more than 1,700 people still showed up to clean up). That meant less total trash picked up, and fewer items recorded—but the patterns we saw were familiar. Following the trend of many prior years, cigarette butts came in at number one with 11,645 picked up. Cigarette butts, composed mainly of a plastic called cellulose acetate, don’t decompose; when disposed of improperly, they leach harmful chemicals into our ground and water. Other notable highs included food wrappers at 8,113, small plastic pieces at 5,403, and plastic bottle caps at 4,299.  

“Cleanups are important because they are immediate and tangible change,” states Paltauf. “The environmental benefits are numerous, from making sure litter doesn’t enter the water, to preventing discarded fishing lines from entangling wildlife, to the removal of items that can leach chemicals into the ground and waterways.” 

Join us for a large-scale Earth Day Cleanup event on April 21 to grab a copy of the 2023 data infographic, pick up trash, speak with Save the Sound staff, and learn more about last year’s Connecticut Cleanup Report, which looks at six years of compiled data. We invite the public to use these resources to advocate for your natural spaces and raise awareness of the hazards of trash pollution in your community. 

A volunteer collects trash at Criscuolo Park in New Haven

Cleanup Event Details: 

Sunday, April 21; 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Long Wharf, New Haven, CT – Meet at the Vietnam Memorial at the southern end of Long Wharf Drive. There is a small parking lot across the street as well as plenty of street parking. Overflow parking available at Jordan’s Furniture (~0.15 mile away from cleanup site). 


View our 2023 Connecticut Cleanup infographic here.  

For all questions regarding cleanups, please email Annalisa Paltauf at 

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