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The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) gave back to Lincoln City last week through a beach cleanup at D River Wayside led by the nonprofit SOLVE.

25 employees from the central coast hospitality and restaurant industry came together to volunteer for the effort. By the end of the event, 50 pounds of litter were removed from the beach and surrounding area. More importantly, thousands of microplastics and hundreds of cigarette butts were also collected.

After a busy summer tourist season, ORLA felt it necessary to bring the community together to take care of a local beach, making it cleaner for incoming visitors and safer for wildlife. Due to COVID-19 related budget cuts, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has had limited capacity to clean beaches and manage disposal services. SOLVE volunteers have stepped up to the challenge to keep the Oregon coast clean.

On Oct. 9, volunteers met at D River Wayside at 9:45 a.m. and practiced social distancing while checking in and throughout the event.

Common items that were collected included take-out containers, cigarette butts, and PPE such as masks. Cigarette butts that are collected by SOLVE are recycled through a partnership with Terracycle. Cigarette filters are separated and melted down and used to create plastic lumber for park benches and decks, while the tobacco is composted. SOLVE has recently surpassed half a million cigarette butts collected and recycled through this process thanks to volunteer groups like ORLA.

Throughout the day, volunteer spirit was high as the team worked together to remove both large items and microplastics from the environment.

“Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association reached out to SOLVE because we have been so encouraged by the unifying spirit these events can have on a community and excited to show how our industry loves to give back to the towns in which they operate. Plus, who doesn’t love to see a beautiful, clean beach?” Greg Staneruck, Membership Representative at ORLA said. “The hopes are to continue with regular beach cleanups and community-building events that the local hospitality industry can be a part of.”

This project was part of SOLVE’s 37th annual Beach & Riverside Cleanup, a statewide event that takes a holistic approach to cleaning up and caring for Oregon’s waterways. The event began on September 19 and has supported more than 1,600 volunteers who have removed 11,500 pounds of litter and marine debris and cleared 27,000 square feet of invasive plant species. Volunteer groups such as ORLA’s play a huge part in the success of SOLVE’s annual events. To learn more about getting involved in an upcoming SOLVE project please visit solveoregon.org.

About SOLVE

SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brings Oregonians together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Since 1969, the organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model of volunteer action. Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers of all ages across Oregon to clean and restore our neighborhoods and natural areas, and to build a legacy of stewardship for our state. Visit solveoregon.org for more information.

About Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association

Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon. A not-for-profit trade organization, ORLA represents approximately 2,600 members, and advocates for over 10,220 foodservice locations and more than 2,000 lodging establishments in Oregon.

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