Great Islands Clean-Up: all hands on deck!

Submitted by The Exchange/Orcas Recycling Services.

The Great Islands Clean-up is back in person! Come join your fellow islanders for the 2022 Spring Great Islands Clean-up on Saturday, April 23, 2022 between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Grabbers, gloves, bags and safety vests will be available for pickup at The Exchange starting Monday, April 18, or at The Village Green the morning of the event. Collected trash can be brought to the Exchange or back to The Village Green before 2 p.m. the same day. Volunteers that sign-up at The Village Green the day of the event can drop by Island Hoppin’ Brewery at 4 p.m. for a free beer.

This year’s theme, All Hands on Deck, celebrates our collaborative efforts as a community to keep our oceans and roads litter free.

“Plastic pollution in our oceans is having a devastating impact on marine life and human health. The Great Islands Clean-up is a good opportunity for our community to join together and address this global issue,” says Katie Fleming, San Juan County’s Solid Waste Coordinator. “Every little bit helps – hundreds of volunteers collect thousands of pounds of trash during this bi-annual event in the islands each spring and fall.”

In addition to initiatives aiming at keeping our beaches clean and free of plastics and other waste, in the following month, San Juan County will be spearheading a countywide campaign to Secure Your Load for Safer Roads. The Secure Your Load campaign will focus on educating residents and visitors on the importance of securing items in (or on) your vehicle to keep it from becoming road or beach waste.

“The Secure Your Load program was directly inspired by the Great Islands Clean-up,” says Pete Moe, Director of ORS/The Exchange. “Our volunteers were noticing trash along the roads, and trash flying out of vehicles. After discussing it with the County, we decided to put together a county-wide campaign.”

The campaign will especially focus on enforcement; penalties and fines for not properly securing your load in San Juan County range from a gross misdemeanor and incur a fine of up to $550, depending on the offense. The Great Islands Clean-up has been happening in the San Juan Islands since 2011. Check the Great Islands Clean-Up Facebook page ( for regular updates. Tag your clean-up adventures on Facebook and Instagram with #GICU2022. Contact Pete Moe at or 360-376-4089 with any Orcas-related GICU questions.