What a mess of trash was collected during two "sweeps" of New Jersey beaches last spring and fall by volunteers and staffers from more than a hundred organizations, including schools, scout troops, churches, civic groups, businesses and government agencies.
The numbers would have been ever higher if Superstorm Sandy hadn't destroyed data kept at home by some of beach captains.
It's not surprising that more than 80 percent were beverage-related items (92,366, including more than 60,000 caps, lids, straws or stirrers), pieces of plastic, foam or plastic foam (72,561 combined); smoking-related items (more than 60,000 including nearly 50,000 cigarette filters), and bags of all kinds (more than 47,000 including more than 33,000 food or candy bags). Needless to say, a lot of other stuff was related to eating or fishing.
Below, however, are some of the more unusual discoveries. And, yes, condoms and rubber bands were part of a single category.
By the way, the spring Beach Sweep is set for Saturday, April 27.