How to clean 20 000 beaches

From 2020-2025 we will clean more than 20 000 beaches/hotspots, and of course – the areas in between. After that – we’ll clean all the rest…

Since making this plan in 2020, we have been through a journey with obstacles and opportunities. We’ve grown even stronger than expected and expanded with operations in several countries around the North Sea. Still – the original ideas and concepts drive us, and the information on this page is kept the way we published it originally, to show our consistency and ability to deliver!

We have also become a part of the cleaning program “Rydd Norge” from The Norwegian Retailers Environment Fond (Handelens Miljøfond), where the fund us doing “mission-based” professional cleaning.

By dividing the coastline into 75 sectors with a radius of 10 nautical miles, our 5 teams will have 11 weeks of cleaning in each sector. We are focusing on areas where the need is high and where no other actors are providing the necessary services or activities.

To the left are our focus areas, and to the right is an illustration of the reach we get with 10 nautical miles, showing the coverage and closeness to the polluted areas. By moving our base right into the polluted areas, we can use the days efficiently on the beaches, not by traveling far distances to get there.

On a total of 20 000 beaches or hotspots, we expect to find 100 000 parts of fishing nets (trawl nets) from commercial fishing boats, 2.5 million ropes, and millions of plastic bottles.

Our long-term volunteers will do 80% of the job and we expect local volunteers to do around 20%, with the help and support of us mobilizing and doing logistics.

Since 2017, we’ve collected more than 1500 metric tons of beach litter.

YearWeight (kg)

77% is Norwegian
77% of the litter on the Norwegian coastline is from Norwegian sources. (Mepex Consult)

Happy beach cleaners in front of “De 7 Søstre” at Helgeland, just below the arctic circle.

Voluntary work for 150 000 000 NOK

The value of our voluntary work is calculated to 150 000 000 Norwegian Krones (15 mill Euro) from 2017-2025.

Our crew is mostly young people that travel to Norway from all over the world, paying the travel with their own money, to help us clean as volunteers.

Right now, more than 3 000 young adults is on our waiting list, to join us.

We are also supporting the local volunteer spirit by helping with logistics and organizing cleanups with the locals. In 2019, we collected waste from more than 220 locally organized beach cleaning operations at Helgeland.

More than 80% from industrial sources
More than 80% of the waste we collect has it’s origin from industrial activities.

Norway has the longest coastline in the world after Canada, and we think the Norwegian coast is the most beautiful coastline in the world.

Now, we will make sure that we also have the cleanest coastline in the world, thereby strengthening Norway’s name and brand as a fishery nation and a destination for travel and recreation with fertile oceans and great nature and wildlife.

More than 1000 kg pr. km
At the northernmost parts of our coastline we have found more than 1000 kg of plastics pr. kilometer of beachline.

How do we spend the funding?

The cost for running 5 teams along the coastline with 11 vessels in total is about 25 million NOK (2,5 mill Euro) pr. year. The funding is roughly distributed like this:

Professional crew and team leaders35%
Leasing of vessels and other equipment30%
Waste management, logistics and treatment (recycling)10%
Technical costs (fuel, maintenance, cost of ownership for boats)8%
Equipment for cleaning (bags, gloves, etc.)5%
External services, accounting, lawyers, advisory++3%
Communication and marketing3%
Food and accommodation for crew and volunteers2%
Travel costs for crew1%
Other costs2%
Removing big objects with minimal impact on surroundings.


How do we handle the trash we collect?
Some trash we collect is sent to Ogoori for material recycling, but most of it goes to the local waste management companies and ends up as energy. We strive to find ways to do more recycling to new materials.

Are we doing more than beach cleaning, or other types of work?
No, we are 100% dedicated to beach cleaning and saving the ocean, including producing and publishing content to create awareness, and our resources are not used for anything else.

Are we politically engaged?
No, we are 100% politically independent – BUT we try to influence politicians and businesses to make good systems to prevent plastic pollution.

How do we work with businesses?
We have a positive dialogue with businesses and try to help them solve their waste challenges. Many businesses are helping us with funding, and sometimes, we make special agreements about where to clean beaches for the money they’ve donated.

Is someone making money from our operations?
No – Our structure is driven by a “nonprofit” model, which means no one is making any profit – all our funding goes to the purpose. We have also decided to have low wages for our employees, which makes us work only with people who have high motivation and personal engagement in sustainability and plastic pollution – no one should be motivated by money to be a part of our team!

That said – of course, many subcontractors provide us with equipment and services, and they actually make money on our activities – and that’s OK. We are a part of the society and have to pay, just like everyone else.

What is the cost of cleaning a beach?

The variations in costs may be large, as the landscape, the weather conditions, the composition of waste, and the time of year and the seasons are changing. The distance from the cleaning site to delivery is also a factor.

That’s why we can’t operate with a price pr. beach or by kilo litter – but however, we know that we over time are able to clean the distance of 1 kilometer for an average of 500 euros with all methodology optimized for efficiency – also having the right funding, to be able to focus 100% on cleaning, not fundraising.

Our sponsors and partners

Our activities along the Norwegian coastline would not be possible without the financial support we get from companies, organizations, and people, and here’s a list of companies and organizations that have helped us: http://www.inthesameboat.eco/contributors

Here are some of our biggest contributors, that have made a special effort to help us: