Your Better Beach

One Man’s Trash Is Still Just Trash—But Could Warrant Treasure

An ideal collection of beach treasures should consist of seashells and sand dollars, not shards of glass, cigarette butts or pieces of plastic. Even though the latter items aren’t nearly as fun to find, there’s now some reward in discovering them, thanks to a new initiative called Your Better Beach.

Kick-started by husband and wife Chic’s Beach residents Brad and Marissa Milliken, Your Better Beach encourages beachgoers to collect beach litter in 16-ounce containers and redeem the trash for rewards at participating local businesses.

Brad had been beachcombing garbage since high school, keeping glass he’s found in a jar on his dresser. Today, he still frequents the beach to run and play frisbee with his dog. But after several incidents of finding shards of glass near children playing or learning that his dog’s feet were being cut from glass on the beach, Brad drew a line in the sand.

Your Better Beach Chic's Beach Virginia BeachHe pitched his idea to local business owners between Little Creek and Fort Story, initiating a conversation and gaining their support to take action.

To date, 18 local businesses are participating in the program, offering incentives like a free donut from Sugar Shack, a free 10-ounce latte from Lynnhaven Coffee, or a free stack of pancakes at Brunch House. What’s most rewarding, though, is the rapid response from locals, who have the opportunity to support local businesses while keeping beaches safe and clean. “I’m just trying to kick start a little extra vigilance,” Brad says. “A little more attention to detail that will take a good beach to a pristine one.”

The current Your Better Beach program incentives last through Aug. 31. For more information on how you can get involved and rewarded at participating businesses, visit

Ryan Miller
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