Going Green Tips

Small choices every day make a big difference in reducing your carbon footprint. Leave Only Footprints challenges you to implement these simple green practices into your life. From drinking coffee to taking out the trash, it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to go green.

  • Brew USDA Certified Organic coffee. It’s grown using sustainable standards.
  • Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store.
  • Turn off the water while brushing teeth. Running water for two minutes can waste up to five gallons of water.
  • Recycle.
  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs.
  • Use natural cleaning materials in refillable spray bottles.
  • Use paperless bill pay.
  • When printing, configure your printer or copy machine to print on both sides of the page.
  • Utilize the sleep mode on your computer if you’ll be away more than 20 minutes.
  • Ditch the brown-bag lunch that creates extra paper trash. Choose an insulated lunch bag instead.
  • Share a ride.
  • Plug video game consoles and TVs into a UL-certified power strip and switch them off on the strip to prevent phantom electrical draw.
  • Watch your car’s speed. Higher speeds require more gas usage.
  • Bring reusable water bottles to the beach.
  • When going on vacation, set your thermostat to appropriate temperatures for energy savings.
  • Consider renting a hybrid car for your road trip vacation.
  • When possible, use Google Maps rather than printing out directions.
  • Reuse towels while on vacation.
  • Take an extra bag with you to the beach to pick up trash and leave the beach even better than you found it.

Trash & Recycling Centers

  • Baldwin County Solid Waste Department
    22251 Palmer Street | Robertsdale, AL 36567
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  • Republic Services
    Curbside recycling vendor for Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.
    17766 US Highway 98 West | Foley, AL 36535
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  • Wise Recycling
    Aluminum recycling center.
    512 N McKenzie St | Foley, AL 36535
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  • Baldwin County Freecycle
    Giving and taking to keep stuff out of the landfills.

Curbside Recycling

Gulf Shores
The City of Gulf Shores contracts with Republic Services to provide weekly residential recycling services. Recycling pickup days are on Wednesdays and Thursday.

Orange Beach
Orange Beach curbside recycling is collected each Wednesday using a two-zone system. Each participating residence receives service biweekly.

Any non-recyclable items placed in your curbside recycling bins will be sent to the landfill at the cost of the city. So be sure to check with the City of Gulf Shores or the City of Orange Beach to learn which products are recyclable.

Bulk Recycling

Community Recycle Stations are available for bulk disposal of paper/cardboard, plastics and aluminum. Locations are:

  • In Gulf Shores: 160 West 36th Avenue – Click Here for More Info
  • In Orange Beach: City Hall, Golf Center, Justice Center, Library, Public Works and the Sportsplex.
Sea Turtle - Alabama Gulf Coast

Share the Beach: Be Sea Turtle Friendly

Each year, between May and October, thousands of endangered sea turtles are hatched on the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. This is also when thousands of families plan their annual vacations on Alabama’s white-sand beaches.

During sea turtle nesting and hatching season, you may be fortunate enough to witness a nest boil. This is when dozens (hopefully hundreds) of hatchlings erupt from the sand and make their way to the Gulf of Mexico. Generally, you’ll see Share the Beach volunteers cording off the area and assisting any straying turtles. These volunteers are trained and educated on how to properly handle and care for our nesting neighbors. If you witness a boil or spot a sea turtle nest, Share The Beach asks that you not disturb the area, but encourages you to enjoy this rare event through observation.

Please follow these guidelines during sea turtle nesting season to ensure the greatest chance of survival for our underwater friends:

  • Avoid using flashlights or flash photography on the beach at night, as sea turtles use moonlight as their guide when nesting.
  • After dark, turn off outside patio lights and turn off all lights inside when not in use.
  • Do not disturb sea turtle nests.
  • Leave only your footprints on the beach each night. Female turtles will turn away and go back to the water if obstacles such as chairs, tents and toys are in their way.
  • Do not dig large holes in the sand. Holes are a hazard for turtles and for people. In 2016, Beach Ambassadors filled 2,038 holes to protect people and sea turtles.
  • Should you spot a nest that hasn’t been marked off, or see a sea turtle emergency, report it by calling 866-SEA-TURTLE.
Learn More

Dolphin SMART

Viewing wild dolphins in their natural habitat can be a thrilling experience. However, when we approach wild dolphins too closely, move too quickly, or make too much noise, we increase the risk of disturbing their natural behaviors, such as migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, and sheltering.

Dolphins are hunters, not beggars. But when people offer them food, they quickly learn begging behavior and lose their fear of humans, resulting in injuries to the dolphin from contact with vessels and from loss of survival skills.

For these reasons, the Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits harassment, hunting, capturing, killing or feeding dolphins. Be Dolphin SMART by following these guidelines:

  • Stay at least 50 yards from dolphins.
  • Move away cautiously if dolphins show signs of disturbance.
  • Always put your engine in neutral when dolphins are near.
  • Refrain from swimming with, touching or feeding wild dolphins.
  • Teach others to be Dolphin SMART.

Alabama Coastal Cleanup

What are you doing the third Saturday of next September? Think clean and green. Join thousands of volunteers across the world serving together for “trash-free seas” on International Coastal Cleanup Day, including a team in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Let’s leave only footprints together.

It’s easy to volunteer. Whether you’re volunteering as an individual or bringing a group of scouts, a youth group or co-workers, everyone is welcome and encouraged to get the trash out of the splash. Numerous cleanup zones are set up and each one has a team captain. Contact a captain to lend a hand and keep our coastlines clean.

Alabama Coastal Cleanup Quick Stats

  • first held in 1988 on Alabama’s coastline
  • 83,000 volunteers in 28 years
  • 1.5 million pounds of trash collected
  • 5,223 miles of coast cleaned

Marine Debris

Marine debris takes many forms, including litter, derelict fishing gear and abandoned recreational equipment. Countless consumer items make their way into our Gulf waters each season, creating trash in our marinas, waterways and estuaries as well as on our beaches.

The consequences of marine debris are many, including:

  • Habitat damage

  • Wildlife injury, illness, and death

  • Navigation hazards

  • Vessel damage and loss

Marine debris can impact a large variety of marine life, from small microorganisms to the largest of whales. Animals may inadvertently eat debris or become entangled in it. Plastic bags, for example, are a common threat to our endangered sea turtles, which often mistake them for a common food item —jellyfish.

Take action against marine debris:

  • Bring your own reusable cups and water bottles. Disposable drink containers can easily end up as marine debris

  • Avoid products with excess packaging. Reducing the amount of packaging and plastics reduces the potential for marine debris!

  • Bring in your own reusable bag to the beach and on board your boat to reduce use of paper and plastic bags.

  • Keep our beaches clean! Get involved in the annual Coastal Cleanup in September.

  • Use an ashtray! Cigarette butts are a leading source of marine and beach debris. Help keep them out of our beautiful gulf waters. – Even cigarette butts discarded in parking lots and along sidewalks miles from the coast inevitably make their way down stream to the beach and waters.

Photo Credit: Ocean Conservancy