Great Lakes Circular Economy Partnership and Plastics Cleanup
The Council of the Great Lakes Region is working to prevent and reduce plastic debris by expanding the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup program and launching a new binational Great Lakes Circular Economy Partnership to help the Great Lakes create a circular economy.
Type of Project: North America Marine Debris Prevention and Removal
Region: Great Lakes
Project Dates: October 2021 - September 2023
Who is involved?
The Council of the Great Lakes Region is working in partnership with Pollution Probe, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, and the Rochester Institute of Technology, along with other organizations participating in the Great Lakes Marine Debris Action Plan, to complete the project. These efforts are supported by a NOAA Marine Debris Program North America Marine Debris Prevention and Removal grant.
What is the project and why is it important?
Each year, 80% of the waste from the Great Lakes Region ends up in landfills, including plastic, which can then leak into the environment. In fact, models from the Rochester Institute of Technology estimate that approximately 22 million pounds of plastic could be entering the Great Lakes every year. It’s a huge problem that no one level of government or sector has the ability to address on their own.
To tackle this issue, the Council of the Great Lakes Region Canada (CGLR) will establish the binational Great Lakes Circular Economy Partnership (GLCEP), an initiative that will include a number of corporate and knowledge partners from government, academia, and the nonprofit sector. Starting with single-use plastics such as bottles, food wrappers, utensils, and other consumer debris as a priority focus, CGLR will complete a comprehensive study of plastics production, use, disposal, and litter in the Great Lakes Region. Once this initial work is complete, CGLR will work with GLCEP partners to develop a circular economy vision, strategy, and five year action plan, which will identify the priorities, projects, partnerships, and investments required to forge a future without plastic waste in the Great Lakes Region.
In partnership with Pollution Probe, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, the Council will also expand the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup to locations along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Wisconsin and the Lake Ontario and Niagara River shorelines in New York. Originally launched in Canada, the program will install Seabin and LittaTrap technology in marinas and communities to help remove litter and plastic material from the Great Lakes and other major inland waterways.
For more information about this project, visit the Marine Debris Program Clearinghouse.