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29 odd types of N.J. beach trash

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.

In all 351,781 objects were retrieved, according to Clean Ocean Action's just released 27th annual Beach Sweeps report. (See also Associated Press account.)

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.

Cigar tips, 8,621
Tampon applicators, 3,102
Strings (no balloons), 1,303
Shotgun shells, 1,175
Light sticks, 761
Condoms/rubber bands, 744
Ice cream sticks/spoons, 554
Vegetable mesh sacks, 206
Diapers, 192
Syringes, 158
Car parts (including 29 batteries but not tires), 128
Appliances, 23
55-gallon drums (old), 9
55-gallon drums (new), 1
Wicker sofa
Vampire teeth
Tube of theatrical blood
Live possum "playing dead"
Fully decorated Christmas tree
Brake shoes
Baby shark
"Do Not Enter" sign
Tanning goggles
Plastic bowling ball
Fire extinguisher
Toilet seat