Trash Collecting

Glass Beach, Fort Bragg, California

Sea Glass. The colorful, translucent pebbles prized by beachcombers the world over is garbage, or at least it once was before the sea reformed it into something beautiful.

Long ago these precious-looking stones were just ordinary glass from ordinary bottles and jars. That was before some asshat tossed them into the ocean, of course. Once there, the glass was broken and pummeled by the constantly churning surf into rounded, milky stones.

Sea Glass

Sea glass can be found the world over, but a particularly high concentration of the stuff occurs on a small stretch of the California coast, off Elm Street in Fort Bragg. Once known by locals as “The Dumps” for their practice of using the area as a landfill, this now pristine seashore has been both renamed and repurposed.

We’re told there was a time when collectors would leave Glass Beach with buckets of the stuff, often carting off the largest and rarest of specimens. Years of such collecting has significantly changed the beach, leaving a smaller collection of the most common white, brown and green glass.

To preserve what remains, the State Park asks visitors not to remove any glass, and we agree. We really do try to live by the slogan of leaving only footprints and taking only photographs. Although we admit, in this instance, we didn’t leave the glass exactly where we found it.

Glass Beach Fort Bragg

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9 Comments on “Trash Collecting”

  1. Jayde-Ashe June 26, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Wow that’s incredible! Isn’t it awesome how nature takes our trash and turns it into something beautiful…if only there was a similar process for plastic.


  2. earthriderjudyberman June 26, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    I love the photos of the sea glass. Too bad there isn’t a way to repurpose styrofoam and plastic which also is tossed and is harmful to animals, birds and the environment.


  3. cravesadventure June 26, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Loving your photos – have actually been here too – pretty cool place:) Happy Hump Day!


  4. Forestwoodfolkart June 27, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    It is a shame we cannot collect anymore, as these would make fantastic jewellery.


  5. rameyontheroad June 29, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    I love sea glass! I collect it all over the world whenever I travel. I love that such a mundane, vernacular object is transformed by the sea into something much more. I like to make earrings from them.


  6. Touring NH July 1, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    I’ve stumbled on sea glass at a variety of beaches that I have been on. I think it is kind of neat that it tends to collect at that beach. Beautiful. I agree with many of the other posts, too bad the ocean can’t make something as beautiful out of all of the other trash “asshats” put in our oceans!


  7. iarxiv July 3, 2013 at 7:54 am #

    Nice composition with green glass 🙂


  8. smilewanderer July 4, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Children love this area, and indeed I totally agree with “leaving only footprints and taking only photographs”


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