Cigarette butts are the most commonly found item on shoreline cleanups across Canada. In 2013 alone, over 300,000 were collected on shoreline cleanups from coast to coast. Rather than send them all off to landfill after they’ve been collected, TerraCycle, a waste solution company, is able to divert cigarette butts from the waste stream and recycle them into items like shipping pallets.
To encourage people year round to reduce and recycle cigarette butts, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, held a contest with site coordinators across the country to see who could collect the most cigarette butts during fall shoreline cleanups from Sept. 1 through to Nov. 15, 2014.
Leslie Ikeda, a teacher at Pinetree Secondary School Coquitlam B.C., collected almost 2000 cigarette butts with the help of her students during the contest period. For more than a decade Ikeda has been leading her charges in local shoreline cleanups. She sees the value as two-fold and says: “Students get involved and help their community and, in the process, help the environment.” This fall, she and 29 teens enrolled in her Global Perspectives class focused on cleaning the area surrounding nearby Lafarge Lake. The most unusual items they discovered along the way? Old car parts, from what appeared to be an accident.
As a long-time recycler and shoreline guardian, Leslie appreciates the ongoing benefits in participating with these cleanup events. “It only reinforces my belief that we need to take care of our planet,” she adds. For Pinetree Secondary, the cleanups have been a great way to raise awareness not only about litter prevention, but the importance of preserving our ecosystem as a whole.
Thank you to Leslie and her class for supporting the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and helping to keep shorelines and waterways pollution free!
The Vancouver Aquarium and WWF’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is a conservation initiative that encourages people across the nation to remove litter from beaches and shorelines to help keep our waters clean. Registration for 2015 shoreline cleanups open in February.