HPC removes 40 tons of trash in Texas beach cleanup


HPC removes 40 tons of trash in Texas beach cleanup

February 14, 2023 | HPC Industrial

Employees in Texas hit the coast to participate in the 28th annual Big Shell Beach Cleanup, where they assisted in removing 40 tons of trash from 32 miles of beach.

In late February, Manta McAllister, LDAR site manager at the Gulf Coast Growth Venture ExxonMobil/ SABIC site – a new chemical and manufacturing plant that opened in 2021 in Corpus Christi (the state’s southern coast) – received word of the cleanup. She immediately recognized it as a great way for HPC Industrial to get involved locally.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to not only clean up the beach but give back to the city around us,” McAllister said. “I always say that we should leave a place better than when we found it and to take care of the planet, so this event really embodied that.”

Beginning in 1995, nonprofit Friends of Padre hold the annual event in the Big Shell portion of the Padre Island National Seashore, which runs along the Gulf Coast. Since its inception, volunteers have removed more than 3 million pounds of trash from the remote and wild stretch of beach.

On Feb. 25, orange trash bags in hand, the HPC group joined 2,500 other attendees – 40 of which were from the Exxon/SABIC site – who were dispersed at different mile markers to clean the area.

Field Supervisor Michael Garcia and Environmental Technician James Booth joined McAllister as part of the HPC team.

Garcia remembered participating in the event with his father when he was a kid, so when he saw the notification that Exxon would have a group attending, he couldn’t help but feel what his dad had all those years ago – a chance to give back to the community.

“It was important to me because I was born and raised in Corpus Christi and I wanted to be a part of keeping the area beautiful,” he said. “It was definitely a blast from the past being there and it felt good to give back to the organization as an adult, especially knowing how much it means now.”

Along with collecting large amounts of plastic, bottles and cans, McAllister, who started at mile 25, encountered an industrial size refrigerator, fishing line, rope and clothing,

“There was all kinds of junk,” she said. “I found more shoes than I think I did anything, and it was typically just one. I never found a matching shoe.”

McAllister thinks that while a lot of the trash the group collected is due to people’s disregard for the beach, other items, like a giant buoy and gauged wire, she suspects washed up on shore from storms at sea.

By the end of it, the Exxon/SABIC group had cleaned around four miles of beach. McAllister and her wife collected eight bags of trash, with Garcia and his wife collecting around seven bags. In total, Friends of Padre filled seven roll-off containers, which equates to 40 tons of waste.

“This was the largest turnout they’ve had and it went really well,” McAllister said. “It felt good to be a part of something where we can directly see the positive effects of our efforts. This will definitely be something the HPC team participates in annually.”