Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | April 22, 2010

What day is it today? Earth Day!

On this Earth Day, more than 6 million Canadians will join 1 billion people in over 170 countries in events and projects that address local environmental issues. What will you be doing?

There are simple things you can do in your everyday life to protect our Earth. Here are just a few:

  • Use green transportation. Look for different ways to get around. Take a walk, ride your bike, carpool with friends, or make use of local transit.
  • Use less water. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. If you want save even more water, add a simple aerator to your faucets and shower heads.
  • Buy and use less “stuff”. Do you need all that stuff you buy? Check out the Story of Stuff for a complete life cycle of the products we buy.
  • Tell your friends. Don’t underestimate the power of your voice. If you are doing all that you can to protect our earth, help spread the word by sharing your advice and tips with others.

In honour of this very special day for the Earth, we’d like to share stories from some of our shoreline cleanup champions, the 2009 recipients of the Site Coordinator Achievement Award.

Debbie Kangas (Sooke, BC) – Community Group

As a newcomer in her community of Sooke, Debbie instantly knew she wanted to become more involved. In 2008, she joined the local Lioness Club and through her involvement here, she formed the Environment Committee and became the Chair. She then registered as a Site Coordinator with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. She demonstrated strong initiative and not only recruited participants for her own cleanup, but also encouraged others to become Site Coordinators themselves. For her own cleanup, she took great care in making sure she was well prepared to host a memorable and well organized event. She writes, “If one person changes their littering habit, that is one more step towards success.”

Kathleen Fraser (Windsor, ON) – School Group

As a student at the University of Windsor, Kathleen showed strong leadership. She became president of the Environmental Studies Club and quadrupled its membership. Her creativity and dedication to the environment is clear. She took the lead by organizing a shoreline cleanup, and not only involved her fellow students but also engaged the local community to join in and lend a hand. She also brought awareness to unnecessary waste on campus by constructing an eye-catching sculpture made from plastic bottles and Styrofoam containers during a recent recycling campaign. Her strong passion for volunteering is also shown throughout the community. A fellow student shared, “She has accomplished so much in her university career and does so with a positive attitude. This was her first shoreline cleanup and it has already impacted so many people in the community.”

Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | April 19, 2010

Love your shorelines, love your volunteers, love the Earth.

This week celebrates two very special events, National Volunteer Week (April 18 – 24, 2010) and Earth Day (Thurs April 22). Both events are very significant to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup; National Volunteer Week is a time to recognize the value of volunteers all across Canada and Earth Day is an important celebration of our planet’s natural wonder.

Volunteers are the heart of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Not only do they guarantee the success of our program, but their positive actions help spread environmental awareness throughout their local communities. From the Site Coordinator who donates their time and leadership skills to organize a cleanup every September to the participants who volunteer to help pick up trash at these events, we’d like to thank each and every one of you.

“I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and thanks”  — William Shakespeare

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better”  — Albert Einstein

Love your shoreline, love your community!

Have you signed up yet for the 2010 Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup? This year’s dates run from September 18 – 26.

Visit to register.

To find Earth Day Event celebrations near you, visit the Earth Day Canada website.

For more information on National Volunteer Week, visit the Volunteer Canada website.

Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | March 10, 2010

Small changes make a big difference

“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur…. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens – and when it happens, it lasts.” ~ John Wooden

”]"Little Gray" unveiled as part of the Sea Life Aquarium's "Beach Trash: A Whale of a Problem"

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post to help put our litter into perspective. At the end of the post, I listed a few ways for people to minimize their environmental impact. Today, I want to focus on the people who have made a change in their every day lives and thus have become stewards of the environment.

These people did not grow up as vegetarians, nor did they only have tie-dyed clothing. Like you and I, they bathed regularly, drove cars or took public transportation, held jobs, bought coffees in the morning and lived a regular life. One day they each decided to make a change, but couldn’t see how they could “give everything up” at once. So to make it easier, they each decided to challenge themselves to either a) make one environmental change a day, no matter how small, and stick with it; or b) make one challenging change and figure out how to uphold it for the year.

Having kept up tabs on a number of environmental bloggers and websites off and on since 2007, the ones that have impacted me the most are the ones posted by people who are making concrete changes. People like No Impact Man, Envirowoman, and Green As a Thistle, just to name a few, were blogging about what their challenges were from day to day. They told of the triumphs and pitfalls along their journeys towards a sustainable lifestyle. They provided tips and ideas, lead by example and through their exploration of environmental idea(l)s, helped people make real change in their own individual lives. Today, there are many many many more people blogging and sharing their inspirations online and I encourage you to check them out. Of the three I mentioned, No Impact Man is the only one that is still being updated regularly and I encourage you to check out his blogroll for more resources and to find someone who can inspire you to make small changes everyday.

I revisited Envirowoman’s blog today for the first time in a year, and from her, I bring to you the Ecological Footprint Quiz. Living the way you currently do, what is your ecological footprint? Mine is 2.77.

It may seem odd that I’m posting about changing one’s lifestyle on a blog focused on shoreline litter, marine debris and community cleanups, but living a sustainable lifestyle and becoming more green are not isolated actions that people take. Everything is interconnected.

Most of the litter found along shorelines and in waterways originates from land and land-based activities. This means that we are the ones who can control the litter that we find along our shorelines. We may not be intentionally littering our shorelines, but the amount of litter that results from our current lifestyles need to go somewhere.

Here’s a video of  Sea Life Aquarium’s “Beach Trash: A Whale of  Problem,” a project that highlights how shoreline litter affects the ocean and the importance of their individual and collective contribution.

Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | January 25, 2010

Running the Numbers II

A couple years ago, we brought to your attention the work of Chris Jordan, an artist in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, WA), who helped us “put litter into perspective.” In particular we highlighted “Plastic Cups, 2008,” his piece on the number of plastic cups used during domestic flights in the USA.

Since then, he has worked on more  pieces relating to the “global mass culture” which he will release in a second book, “Running the Numbers II.” The image that caught my attention and the one which I wanted to highlight is called “Gyre, 2009.” In it, Jordan has recreated one of Hokusai’s most famous paintings, “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” using 2.4 million pieces of plastic. This number equal to the estimated number of pounds of plastic pollution that enter the world’s oceans every hour. All of the plastic in the image was collected from the Pacific Ocean and the resulting image is approximately 8×11′ in size.

"Gyre, 2009" Photo courtesy of Chris Jordan

Here’s a closer look of the image:

A close-up of Mount Fuji from the whole image. Photo courtesy of Chris Jordan.

For more images from “Gyre, 2009,” check out his website,

Before I end, I wanted to remind us that we can all make a difference. It might not be possible to fish every single piece of litter and garbage out of the ocean, but we can still do our part. Here are a few actions that we can take in 2010 to help ensure that the amount of plastic, litter and garbage that is found in our oceans  and waterways don’t continue to grow and expand:

  • Properly dispose of your cigarette butts. When you’re out for a walk, take along a small metal or plastic container to hold your cigarette butts until you can dispose of them properly. The number one litter item found along shorelines around the world is cigarette butts.  Each discarded cigarette filter contains harmful chemicals that can leach into the environment or kill animals that ingest them.
  • Put litter in its place. Most shoreline litter and marine debris starts out on land.  When throwing out trash, put it in a lidded container to help keep litter from finding its way to the shorelines and into the water.
  • Recycle everything you can. In addition to the usual items that can be recycled (i.e. bottles, cans and newspapers), other items can also be recycled, such as batteries, electronics and packaging materials. Regularly check with your municipality to discover all the recycling options in your community.

  • Don’t be a loser, be a re-user. Many new alternatives to single use items are readily available. Not only do they look stylish, but they help reduce the amount of garbage in landfill.  In addition to bringing your own reusable bag, mug or water bottle, next time you have a picnic or barbeque, leave the paper plates and plastic cutlery at home.  A permanent food container and your own cutlery is a great way to avoid disposable items and make the meal feel special.

  • One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Next time you’re cleaning up and clearing out unwanted items, look for ways to donate or sell them instead of throwing them into the garbage. Many local non-profit groups seek donations like toys, clothing, craft supplies, furniture, small appliances and many more items. You can also go online or to a consignment shop to sell or give away items.
  • Less is more. Think before you buy. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need, it will just end up as trash. When you do make purchases, choose items that use less packaging and look for reusable items whenever possible. You’ll save money and the environment at the same time.
  • Be part of the solution. Volunteer for and join shoreline cleanup programs like the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup which help remove litter before it enters the water.

Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | January 18, 2010

Turning Over A New Leaf

First of all, we would like to say thank you to everyone who took part in the 2009 TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, we truly could not do this without the support of people like you from across Canada.

Glenbourn Belchers March (Halifax, NS)

Next, I would like to say that over the last year, we’ve been neglect in keeping this blog up to date and I’d like to apologize for this oversight. In 2009, we had been experimenting with new ways to support our site coordinators, other forms of social media and working with new ideas for events around shoreline litter and marine debris.

This year, our goal for this blog is to continue our original goal to scour the internet to find and compile interesting stories on shoreline litter,  marine debris and shoreline cleanups. We will do a brief recap of 2009 over the next few months interspersed between new and current items which you may find inspiring.

In the meantime, as we’re working furtively away to get the final report ready by February, here are some interesting stats from 2009.

  • 56,916 Canadians registered to cleanup 1,568 sites. ”]

    Once the dust settled and data collection ended in October, some of the top items removed from shorelines across Canada were:

  • Food wrappers & Containers
  • Cups, Plates, Forks, Knives & Spoons
  • Straws & Stirrers
  • Caps & Lids
  • Plastic bottles
  • Glass bottles
  • Beverage cans
  • Plastic bags
  • Paper bags
  • Cigarette butts
  • Cigar Tips
  • Tobacco packaging & Wrappers
Some of the more unusual items:
  • hair extensions
  • Star Wars Light Saber
  • plastic dinosaur
  • Flintstones boxers
  • curling iron
  • refrigerator door
  • desk
  • mannequin dressed in a bathing suit
  • leopard frog in a bottle (alive)
  • message in a bottle, with the message ironically being: “PLEASE DON’T LITTER!”
Don’t forget to keep an eye on for the 2009 TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and the latest news and updates for the program in 2010.
Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day, and more than 6 million Canadians will participate by joining over 170 countries in events and projects addressing local environmental issues.  This is a day that provides individuals with the opportunity to take positive action and spread awareness about the environment. For more information, visit the Earth Day Canada website.

This September (19 – 27), you’ll also have the chance to show your commitment to our Earth by participating in the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup! Registration is open, so drop by to register for a cleanup near you.

If you live in the Toronto Area, come drop by our booth at the upcoming Green Living Show (April 24 – 26).  We are booth #1727, just to the left of the main aisle.  As a special treat, please print off the below $2 off coupon or redeem online by entering the coupon code “20AD.”  Hope to see you there!


Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | April 19, 2009

A Week of Recognition

This week marks National Volunteer Week (April 19 – 25, 2009) and we’d like to extend a special THANK-YOU to everyone who has ever volunteered to participate in the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. We value everything that you do to make a positive impact on our shorelines. Every single cleanup makes a difference!

Please enjoy the below photo collage that offers a quick peek into the amazing work you do and the fun you have while doing it.


If you have not yet signed up for the 2009 TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, please visit to register.

For more information on National Volunteer Week, visit the Volunteer Canada website.


Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | October 22, 2008

Plastic Bags vs. Cigarette Butts

Earlier this year a brief survey was conducted to find out what Canadians think about environmental action and the litter found along our beaches and shorelines. The results were released in August and… well… they spread like wildfire across the country. Here’s the news release that was sent out and some links to the stories that resulted from the news release talking about the cigarette butt and the plastic bag.


Plastic bags and cigarette butts: new data from TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup finds perception “butts” reality

Majority of Canadians (52%) are taking environmental action because it is “just something I do,” while one in five (20%) credit the media for inspiring them to be environmentally-friendly

TORONTO, August 20, 2008 — Nearly half of Canadians (49%) believe plastic bags are the number one pollutant on our shorelines according to new survey findings from the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, despite the fact cigarette butts are consistently the number one item recovered during the annual cleanup. The survey found only 18% of Canadians believe cigarette butts are the top culprit affecting our shorelines.

“Cigarette butts pose a significant danger to wildlife, yet for some reason many Canadians don’t think of them as litter,” said Eric Solomon, Vice President of Conservation, Research and Education, Vancouver Aquarium. During last year’s TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, participants removed more than 270,000 cigarette butts from shorelines.

One of the largest annual shoreline cleanups in the world, over 50,000 Canadians participated in last year’s TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup and this year organizers are hoping for 70,000 volunteers to help protect the environment and wildlife by removing garbage from our shorelines. Running from September 20-28, 2008 at more than 1,000 cleanup sites across the country, this national event invites volunteers to participate by removing harmful waste from around local ponds, streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans.

“Canada is home to the world’s largest freshwater supply and yet keeping our waters safe and unspoiled is still not a priority for most Canadians,” said Roger St. Louis, Regional Manager, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. “We collected nearly 90 tonnes of garbage during last year’s TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup – and unfortunately, we’ll recover even more this year.”

Help is on the way

Are Canadians walking the talk? The survey found that one in five (22%) Canadians say they’re volunteering on a monthly basis to make their community more environmentally-friendly, with BC and Alberta residents most likely to volunteer each month, at 34% each.

Besides volunteering, more than half (58%) of Canadians say they are taking deliberate action to reduce their impact on the environment by disposing of waste properly and recycling. Canadians 55 and over are the country’s most active recyclers (69%) compared to less than half (46%) of Canadians aged 18-34. Regionally, residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan (70%) are the most likely to recycle and dispose of waste properly.

Canadians say they are also reducing energy consumption by turning off lights and electronics (16%) and driving less (12%). However, only 7% of Canadians say they are purchasing products with less packaging and only 4% are buying organic/locally grown foods.

“Half of Canadians say they’re being environmentally-friendly because it’s ‘just something they do’,” reported Solomon. “Cleary Canadians have the environment on their minds and many are taking personal action to make a difference. The TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a great way to get started.”

Top Environmental Issues

When asked to rank environmental issues facing Canada in order of importance:

More than one third (37%) of Canadians say that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is their top environmental concern;

One in four (25%) say improving air quality is their most pressing environmental issue; in Ontario 31% say it is a crucial issue;

Twenty per cent of Canadians feel that conserving our forest, protecting our wildlife and creating more parks and green spaces is a priority;

Sixteen per cent of Canadians say that our shorelines are an environmental priority with Maritimers and Albertans (23% each) placing the most emphasis on our shores.

“We’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup – a perfect occasion to inspire and unite Canadians to take action and help clean up our lakes, rivers and streams,” continued St. Louis. “We can make a difference together to ensure our shorelines are both safe for plants and animals and beautiful to enjoy for future generations.”

About the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

TD Bank Financial Group has been a proud sponsor of the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program, through its TD Friends of the Environment Foundation for more than 12 years. In 2007, a record-breaking 50,000 volunteers participated in the national cleanup and removed 87,489 kilograms of garbage from 1,240 sites spanning a collective distance of 1,772 kilometres. Now in its 15th year, this year’s TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup takes place from September 20-28, 2008. To register, visit

About the Survey

The TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup survey was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies on June 26, 2008 among a randomly selected, representative sample of 1,007 Canadians 18+. The maximum margin of error is +/- 3.1% 19 times out of 20.

Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | October 10, 2008

Congratulations Canada!

A huge congratulations goes out to the over 63,000 Canadians who registered for this year’s TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup at over 1500 shorelines.  The data is rolling in, and we’ll be sharing the results as soon as we can.  We’ve already heard some tales of unusual items at cleanups, and you can read about these here.

We’re also hearing some great stories from your fellow Site Coordinators.  Please enjoy the below snippets of the stories people have sent in so far, and please send us in any stories you’d like to share.

Robert Murray of Pinawa MB writes:

Despite the cool and rainy weather, 20 people came out for our first annual TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup along the Winnipeg River.  The good news is that our shoreline is quite clean.  We only managed to fill 3 large trash bags and 2 recycling bags – not counting the 9 tires that wouldn’t fit in bags.  We need to thank the people who don’t wait for a special day to pick up litter as their walk their dog or exercise along the trails.  The bad news is that we did find a bewildering variety of trash.  The “Antiques Roadshow” award goes to John Trueman, who scored a very cool old patent medicine bottle in pristine condition!

Zelda McKenzie of Hampton NB writes:

A big thank you to all the participants for a successful TD Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up here in Hampton on September 20th. 2008. 21 participants joined in an effort to help keep our shorelines and marsh area clean, 11 of whom were from the HHS Green Team lead by Mr. Hall. We collected 200 lbs of garbage around Spooner Island and on the Kennebecasis River from Hampton to Darlings Island. Some of the types of litter we found were alarming, old tires, a TV, metal pipes and barrels to name a few. The world’s largest fresh water supply is found in Canada and it’s important that we make keeping it clean a priority. It only takes a moment to turn our boats around and pick up what has blown off or left at the shore. Keeping our nature clean is everyone’s responsibility.

Barry Baltassen of Winnipeg MB writes about his cleanup in Kenora ON:

It takes a community to raise awareness. That was the theme of the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup which took place on Kenora’s Laurenson Creek on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008. Organized by the Lake of the Woods District Property Owners, with assistance from partners Safeway, City of Kenora and TD Bank, the event saw 25 willing participants clean the shoreline.

A number of children made the day enjoyable and memorable with their enthusiasm. Duncan McEwen brought his two young boys Mason and Oliver fully expecting to look after the boys more than gather garbage. The boys fooled him. They wanted to pick garbage, and pick garbage they did, cleaning up the shoreline by the Safeway docks well before noon. Six year old Mason McEwen, “almost seven”, didn’t want to stop.  “Picking up garbage is fun and good for the environment,” said Mason, when asked what he liked most about the day.  Nine year old Even MacPherson and eleven year old Kaylyn Hamlyn expressed similar sentiments. The words of these small but mighty stewards of the land kept adults refreshed and inspired.

In total, 20 bags of garbage and 10 bags of recycling, representing 275 lbs. of trash over about one kilometre of shoreline, were collected.

Posted by: canadianshorelinecleanup | October 6, 2008

Oh Mirror, Mirror, on the wall. What was the oddest item of them all?

There is so much news to update everyone on, I don’t know where to begin.

Well, firstly, I would like to thank each and everyone of you who came out and participated in this year’s TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. This year saw over 63,000 people register to participate in over 1,500 cleanups happening across Canada. Thank you all!!! With your help, we have reached more Canadians than before and held successful September 20th Kick-off Events in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, and Halifax. These events helped kick-off the week by hosting an estimate of over 800 participants alone. [More will come on this later.]

Our Director of Conservation and Environmental Affairs, Angela Griffiths, told us:

Our success this year is a reflection of the commitment shown by the thousands of individuals and community groups who are willing and able to do their part to protect our oceans and waterways. Most of the litter we find originates from land-based sources and the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup makes an important impact in reducing the amount of litter that reach our aquatic environment.”

Since the wrap up of this year’s TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup data has be sweeping in… through our system and through the mail. For any Site Coordinator who hasn’t submitted their data as of yet, it’s not too late. Log on and do so today!

To follow up on the last posts on unusual items, I thought it would be appropriate to write about some of the more unusual items that were removed from Canadian shorelines so far in 2008. In no particular order, we present to you….. [insert drum roll here and echoey affects]…. The Top 10 Oddest Items!

One of this year's Top 10 Oddest Items... The Hot Dog Cart removed from a Toronto shoreline along Lake Ontario.

One of the 2008 Top 10 Oddest Items - The Hot Dog Cart - found along a Toronto shoreline along Lake Ontario.

§ A parking ticket machine

§ A bag of stolen purses

§ The hood of a 1942 Mercury Truck

§ A statue of Ganesh

§ A message in a bottle

§ A bullwhip

§ A hot dog cart

§ A “Royal Order of the Screechers” Certificate

§ Half a park bench

§ A whole pizza

As data is still coming in, we will compile a full list of odd items [with photos if available] and invite readers to participate in a short poll to see what we think the oddest item would be.

As a reminder, the TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup may now be over for 2008, but until next year there are still many ways you can work towards keeping our local shorelines and waterways stay clean and green all-year round.

The following is a list of suggestions offered by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation and the Vancouver Aquarium:

Recycle and clean up your garbage, no matter where you are

Properly dispose of cigarette butts and cigar tips

Bring re-usable bags with you when shopping as a way to reduce the number of plastic bags ending up in landfills or on shorelines

Purchase environmentally friendly products

Join thousands of volunteers across Canada next September for the 16th annual TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

And of course, don’t forget to keep checking, and for updates and photos from this year’s TD Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. Once again thank you so very much to everyone who came out to help us keep Canada clean!

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