Dec 8, 2015

Point Richmond native Gina Knox has launched a clever and inspiring school project to protect the world’s oceans from litter, and it involves enlisting help from local coffee shops such as the famous Catahoula Coffee Co.

On Tuesday, the award-winning roaster touted Knox for visiting its San Pablo Avenue shop about month ago to ask for donations of burlap sacks that are used to transport coffee. Knox, who attends the California College of the Arts, told Catahoula Coffee Co. she has launched a sustainability project called #stashthetrash. The project empowers beach-goers to pick up a bit of litter every time they visit coastal areas rather than wait until there is a coordinated coastal cleanup event.

To make this idea feasible, she is fetching donations of burlap sacks from local coffee shops, since the material is 100-percent biodegradable and reusable.

“#StashTheTrash is a project that provides beach goers with the tools to make a bit of difference,” Knox wrote in an article about her project on “The material is upcycled from local coffee shops, the burlap is 100% biodegradable, and most importantly trash stays in while sand falls back out and stays where it belongs on the beach.”

On its Facebook page, Catahoula Coffee Co. gave Knox a virtual high-five for her efforts.

” We are glad you’ve upcycled our sacks for a great cause,” the company said.

Knox wrote that scuba diving was a source of inspiration. While diving at age 21, she noticed the litter at the bottom of the ocean and learned more about its impact on wildlife and habitats. She said she became more optimistic about a solution to the problem after eyeing data from the Ocean Conservatory regarding the amount of litter collected during a single day of organized beach cleanups.

“They organize 1 day of beach clean ups and with the concentrated efforts a huge impact is made,” she wrote. “So I thought, how can this happen every single day? And it dawned on me that if we did this daily, we could clean up the oceans.”

She hopes ocean-loving people like herself will be compelled to grab a burlap sack and pick up a couple of littered items while they are soaking up sun, surfing or playing in the sand.


  1. These Up-Cycled Trash Bags are reusable….they can be continued to be used time after time. It is not “Once and Done!!” Coffee Burlap Bags are rather durable!!

    Timber | Dec 8th, 2015
  2. Great idea! We hike a lot, and when we do, we always pick up litter. I wish more people did likewise-there’s a lot of litter out there!

    Mike | Dec 8th, 2015

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.