Total Macy’s, Inc. Solar Electricity Production on 03/17/2018

8,287 YTD

6,795 YTD

$916,521 YTD

15,081,984 YTD

Close [x]
Our Commitment Sustainability in Action Partnerships & Awards Resources Solar Dashboard Search


Inspiring Lifelong Sustainability Focus – Starting at the Beach

POSTED UNDER By Our Associates

It started when her kids were small. Macy’s Monmouth Merchandising Team Manager Chrissy Bellucci and her husband purchased season passes to a beach about 3 miles from their New Jersey home, and the family started regularly spending time there. It didn’t take long, though, for them to notice a problem. “Our beach has a ‘carry in, carry out’ policy – whatever you bring in, you’re responsible for taking it with you when you leave. There are no garbage cans – and so many people think it’s okay to leave their garbage on the beach.” says Bellucci. 

Bellucci, who’s been part of the Macy’s team for 24 years, had an issue with that, so she and her husband started paying their small children $5 a day to clean up around the area where the family was sitting for the day. They picked up straws, napkins, cups and various other detritus: “People just leave their bags of garbage everywhere,” says Bellucci. Her son noticed a group of kids taking a brand new soccer ball out of the box, and then discarding the box on the sand. He said “Mom, they left their box. We need to pick that up and take it with us.” So they did.

As the kids got older, Bellucci decided they needed to see the impact of what they were doing on a bigger scale, so she started signing the family up for organized “Beach Sweeps” cleanup events. “We just completed our fifth one,” she says. “My children are 16 and 13 and one would think they wouldn’t want to spend their Saturday cleaning up garbage, but they do!” She says that they get to tally everything they collect, as well recording the most unusual item they find, which to date includes a metal gas sign, a four-foot long Styrofoam block and “one single size 14 men’s work boot. It was absolutely huge!” Bellucci laughs. They also once found a 25-foot-long fishing net, which took 10 people to pull out of the sand and haul to the collection site.

Macy's Associate Cleans Up Beach at Event

The beach cleanups and the carry-in, carry-out policy have been eye-opening for the family. “You think you always come home with less,” says Bellucci. “But if you’re cleaning up after yourself – and after others – you’re always bringing home more.”

The family’s commitment to sustainability extends well beyond the beach to their home life as well, Bellucci says. “We absolutely have a major recycling effort in our house. My husband has always been a big recycler, and he’s inspired our family. When we go to visit grandparents or friends, our kids will say ‘No, don’t throw that away – it’s recyclable. We need to recycle it.’”

Macy's Associate and Family Clean Up Beach Together

She says her daughter has a strong interest in marine life, and that inspires her to clean up the beach as well. “She’ll say we need to pick an item up and keep it away from the water because something might think it’s food,” Bellucci says. Her daughter knows that ingesting plastic or other trash can have devastating consequences for wildlife, causing death or injury to hundreds of thousands of seabirds and marine species every year, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

Bellucci’s children are still young, and she’s hopeful that this early exposure will inspire a lifelong commitment to recycling and sustainability. “It’s important to teach the younger generations about our ocean as well as the older generations. We’re not only polluting the water, but the wildlife. That’s their home – and we’re invading it and damaging it. We wouldn’t want someone to do that to our home, and we should take pride in the ocean as we do in our own homes."


How We Found Chrissy's Story

Macy’s Monmouth Merchandising Team Manager Chrissy Bellucci contacted us through the Macy’s Green Living story idea submission form. If you have an idea for a story and would like to be featured in an upcoming Associate Spotlight or would like to write a story for the site, let us know. We can’t respond to all ideas, but we read every single one, so keep them coming!


You also might like:

Janet Saunders Tackles an Environmental Menace

Sustainable Container Gardening with Diana Russo

Dan Pasky’s Repurposed Crafts

Thaiz Mendoza on Eating Sustainably


Like what you've just read?

Sign up for regular updates, and get Green Living delivered right to your inbox!