Couple teams up with local businesses to clean up beaches

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — On the heels of Earth Day and just in time for summer, community members are teaming up with local businesses to build a better beach.

The program is called “Your Better Beach.” The couple behind it says it’s an easy program that everyone can get involved in. The concept is simple: Collect trash and debris on the beach, take it to a local business and get something in return. But they’re not looking for general trash, they want people to focus on items like broken glass and bottle caps — things that can do damage.

Brad Milliken has lived near Chick’s Beach for about three years. Every day, he either runs or plays with his dog on the beach. Twice, he’s had issues with glass.

“We were throwing the frisbee and he was limping. I picked up his foot and he had a pretty thick piece of glass stuck in his paw. He was bleeding pretty bad,” he said.

Milliken’s dad also cut his foot on glass buried in the sand. That’s why Brad and his wife started picking up any glass they saw and put it in a container labeled “make a better beach.”

But they didn’t stop there. Now, they’re asking other people and businesses to help.

“A lot of the local businesses are owned by people who live here and come to the beach and have a stake in the community,” said Milliken.

At six spots in the Chick’s Beach area, you can pick up a container. Fill the container with items like broken glass and bottle caps, take it to one of those businesses and you’ll get something in return.

“Bring me all the trash you can and I’ll make all the lattes,” said Chris Bailey, managing partner of Lynnhaven Coffee Company. It’s one of the businesses that’s partnered with “Your Better Beach.”

Bailey says they’re happy to motivate people.

“Like any beach with a lot of traffic, a lot of people don’t care what they leave behind,” he said.

Bailey has lived in the area for 10 years. As much as it’s a good business decision for him, it’s also a personal one.

“I’ve seen the bay go through various cycles of fish disappearing, coming back, cleanliness,” he said. “You know, it’s all about making an effort.”

For more information on the other businesses involved and what they’re offering, visit their website.