GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD)  — Hundreds scoured the Lake Michigan shoreline in Grand Haven Saturday to help pick top trash before the tourist season and to clean up one of West Michigan’s most valuable resources.

Brianna Meeker is a student at Aquinas College studying community leadership and had the idea for a city-wide beach cleanup while she was hiking at Rosy Mound park in Grand Haven.

“I was walking the beach and I just noticed all the trash,” Meeker said. “I thought, how can I get the entire community to work together to clean up our beaches.”

In partnership with Aldea Coffee, Meeker and others helped organize the beach cleanup; they hope their trash haul will inspire the city of Grand Haven to make changes.

“The goal is to bring all the trash we collect today to the city and present them a kind of summary of what we found today,” Meeker said. “Hopefully that will help them see we need some better recycling infrastructure in the city.”

Brittany Goode works at Aldea Coffee and says their zero-waste business works to be as sustainable as they can be. They hope their elimination of single-use plastics will motivate the city to make changes of their own.

“It worked out really well for us to partner with Brianna Meeker,” Goode said. “By being an example to the city, and to other businesses we hope they can be more sustainable as well.

Meeker hopes to hold more beach cleanups in the future but isn’t limiting herself to Grand Haven.

“It’s great to get the community out here and show them the impact that they can have on this beach,” Meeker said. “We are having another beach cleanup here next weekend but after that we’d love to see people host more cleanups. We can get those wherever you want them.”

If you are interested in hosting a beach cleanup or want more information, contact The Alliance for The Great Lakes or Aldea Coffee.