Turning Trash into Treasure at Glass Beach


Just north of Mendocino on the Northern California coast is Glass Beach, one of the most unique beaches in the world.

This beach was once the Fort Bragg City Dump. Everything from spark plugs and engine blocks to china and glass was dumped here from 1949 until 1967, when it was finally decided that perhaps dumping garbage at the water’s edge wasn’t such a clever idea.

Three decades on, nature has reclaimed the beach. The constantly pounding surf has transformed the trash into treasure, resulting in the beach displaying shiny layers of polished broken glass in a kaleidoscope of shapes and colors. Yes, there still is the occasional rusty spark plug, but mostly it’s the glass sparkling in the sun that catches the eye.

Glass Beach, now part of MacKerricher State Park, makes for an interesting living science lesson, not only for its trashy history but also because of its ever changing tide pools that are home to crabs, mollusks and aquatic plants.

Image: the Gardeners Anonymous blog