In honour of Earth Day, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and Ocean Legacy are launching a new shoreline litter drop-off location at Ocean Wise’s Vancouver Aquarium. Not only will this new drop-off location keep trash off shorelines but out of landfills, too. By dropping off cleanup items they collect, volunteers take their cleanup one step further and give new life to shoreline litter, transforming it into picture frames, construction materials and art projects.
Ocean Legacy Foundation is a non-profit organization working to create solutions for that marine debris. So far, they have collected over 50,000 kilograms of trash on cleanup expeditions and have diverted an impressive 90% of that volume from landfill. Ocean Legacy up-cycles or recycles the material they collect by partnering with a diverse community of manufacturers, companies and technologies to turn plastic waste into valuable resources.
Plastic bottles, straws, and tiny pieces of plastic and foam are all in the top 12 most common items found on Canadian shorelines. Through this new partnership, these litter items will be transformed from “garbage” into items of value.
How do I use the bin?
Following your shoreline cleanup, separate the litter you collect into hard plastic and foam material categories. Once separated, bring your hard plastic and foam items to the Shoreline Litter Drop-off bin located on site at the Vancouver Aquarium. Other materials such as soft plastics and paper can be recycled at local recycling depots. For more information on what we can and cannot take, as well as the location of the bin, click here.
What will happen to the litter after it is dropped off?
Materials collected at the Vancouver Aquarium will be transported to Ocean Legacy’s Marine Debris Solutions Centre where they will be further sorted for re-purposing, up-cycling, and recycling. Hard plastics will be recycled into new plastic items or converted to fuel for research purposes using innovative plastic-to-fuel technology. White polystyrene foam (styrofoam) will be recycled into new items like picture frames or construction materials. Straws, lighters, and toothbrushes are incorporated into art projects. Fishing buoys can be resold to the fishing industry or used for art installations.
How do cleanup volunteers outside of Vancouver get involved?
Volunteers leading cleanups across Canada can divert waste from landfill by recycling clean shoreline litter through their local municipal recycling program or sending cigarette butts to TerraCycle’s Cigarette Waste Recycling Program. Alternatively, consider reusing! Each year we are inspired by stories of volunteers who have found new uses for the items they find. Take your cleanup one step further by offering reusable options at your next cleanup, such as gardening gloves and buckets, instead of single-use gloves and bags. Ready to be part of the solution? Lead or join a cleanup near you at shorelinecleanup.ca.
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is one of the largest direct action conservation programs in Canada. A conservation partnership by Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada, the Shoreline Cleanup aims to promote understanding of shoreline litter issues by engaging Canadians to rehabilitate shoreline areas through cleanups. Find out more at www.shorelinecleanup.ca.