The Seabins program conducted by PortsToronto in partnership with the University of Toronto Trash Team has succeeded in removing tens of thousands of small pieces of polluting plastic from Lake Ontario.
During the first phase of the pilot project, each of the two Seabins (floating waste collectors) installed at the marina collected an average of two kilograms (4.4 pounds) of waste daily, ranging from floating natural debris to disposable gloves, plastic bottle caps, cigarette butts, Styrofoam and plastic bags.
For the second phase, two additional skimmers were installed in Toronto’s Inner Harbour. Over a seven-week campaign, each Seabin trapped approximately 210 pieces of plastic and the entire network recovered 33 kilograms (72 lbs) of waste, equivalent to approximately 3,400 plastic water bottles.
Aimed at combating the problem of floating litter in Toronto Harbour, the Seabins program is helping the U of T Trash Team to determine the role that litter-trapping technologies can play and to identify solutions to reduce litter at source for each type of identified debris. Since the large debris found in the reclaimers is mainly single-use plastics, such as bottle caps, the Canadian federal government’s new regulation that comes into effect by year’s end to ban certain single-use plastics will help to address this issue.