"A lot of it is human waste, it's not debris from anywhere," said Papamoa East resident Gavin Bisman.
At the far end of Papamoa Beach sits Karewa Parade, which was recently visited for the first time by Coast Care.
Coast Care is a partnership between the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Department of Conservation and local residents.
Paul Greenshields, Coast Care regional coordinator for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, said the remote location meant it didn't get as much attention as the rest of the beach.
"It comes out through the Kaituna River, through stormwater drains that discharge onto the beach and that's how we end up with rubbish strewn across our beaches," said
More than 20 locals gave up their free time on Saturday morning to scour the sand and dunes, picking up other people's rubbish.
"Today they'll be picking up cans, water bottles, fizzy bottles. I've just been for a drive down the beach and picked up a fridge door and a plastic bollard."
Many of the volunteers were teenagers or young children accompanied by their parents.
"There's rubbish that needs to be picked up and it's not good for the animals or the environment," said young Papamoa East student, Natalia Morgan.
Her friend, Pippa Haggie, was also concerned for the welfare of local wildlife.
"Animals eat it, they could like die or their babies. Or the turtles could get it on their necks and stuff," she said.
Coast Care contractor Chris Ward said it was important to get the younger generation involved.
"They're learning how to look after the environment. It's good to see them pitching up and bringing their families as well."
Bisman said caring for the environment was an important lesson for his children to learn.
"This our home, we live just up the road, so for me especially we've got to look after what we get to enjoy. I surf down here every other day, so we make the most of it and love it. And then for the boys it's just to help them understand that this is our home and we look after it. We clean it up like we would our own house."
From May to August, Coast Care will hold a number of dune planting events in the region, where children will again play their part by keeping the beaches clean, and enjoying them afterwards.