Shoreline cleanups in Georgian Bay

How to Clean Up Your Shorelines with the #GBFTrashTeam

As a part of the Divert and Capture: The Fight to Keep Microplastics Out of Our Water program, Georgian Bay Forever is organizing shoreline cleanups around Georgian Bay in effort to keep our shorelines plastic free.

This page provides information about our cleanups, and how you can volunteer for one today!

Click on these links below to get started:


Georgian Bay is home to some of Canada’s most diverse shorelines. These shorelines are incredibly ecologically productive, supporting plants, microorganisms, insects, amphibians, birds, mammals, and fish. They are an important transitional ecosystem that many aquatic and terrestrial organisms rely on. We also benefit from shorelines for various recreational purposes, and some of us are lucky to live on a shoreline.

Plastic PollutionThe shorelines of Georgian Bay are granite bedrock exposed by the glaciers at the end of the last ice age, about 11,000 years ago. Today, several areas of some 2000 kilometers of shoreline around Georgian Bay are lessened because of something that is useful to us humans for a matter of minutes; single use plastic products.

According to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanups, single-use plastic are more than a third of all plastic waste and are among the top twelve most collected items during shoreline cleanups. Not only does trash pose a threat to our shoreline ecosystems, if the trash washes into the lake, it can break down into smaller pieces of plastic and enter the food web. That’s why GBF is helping our shorelines, lakes, aquatic animals and beyond by hosting shoreline cleanup events around Georgian Bay. This will also provide cleaner public areas for all to enjoy.

Learn about how to reduce your plastic use, volunteer for a shoreline clean up, and/or find out how you can join a community group to join a cleanup by contacting Cassie at

Shoreline Safety During Cleanups

Cleanup SafetyWorking around shorelines can sometime be dangerous, and its important to be aware of your surroundings. This includes watching your footing around soft or rocky shoulders, and watching for waves coming on shore. Be sure to practice water safety practices as well. You may also encounter sharp objects. Always use gloves when picking up these items, and dispose of them in a sharps container if necessary. If you are participating in a winter cleanup, be sure that the ice is at least 5 inches in thickness to confidently hold weight.

Review our safe operating procedures document as well as our safety poster. If you plan on organizing your own shoreline cleanup, ensure to review these with participants. See these links:

Cleanup Safe Operating Procedures
Cleanup Safety Poster

Tally Your Trash!

Plastic FoamWhile cleaning up your shoreline, please use our GBF Trash Tally sheet to help us gain data on what we find on our shorelines. This data will pinpoint items of concern, and identify ways in which we can mitigate these items from landing on our shorelines. Many people have spoken to GBF for instance about dock foam. We will now have the ability to get a sense of thee scale of the problem so it can be addressed. The picture shows one of the many pieces of dock foam found on s Georgian Bay shore by Heather Sargeant, GBF's Director of Communication.

Cigarette Butts - another example. In Lake Huron, 45% of all litter items removed from shoreline cleanups were cigarette butts according to one study. By identifying cigarette butts as a common litter item, the Butt-Free Beach Campaign was created by the Lake Huron Coastal Centre to educate the public on this issue and improve awareness through signs and by providing beach ash trays to smokers. Georgian Bay Forever participated in the program with others in 2017 at Wasaga Beach 5. Also, Butt Free awareness signs can be found at Waubuno Beach in Parry Sound. To learn more about the problems with cigarette butts, please read about this volunteer and her experiences by visiting this link.

What to do?

Download the GBF Trash Tally sheet and send your completed sheet to at to contribute to the database. It's easy and valuable!

donation link

Planning for Disposal of Waste and Recyclables

Depending on where you are located, it is likely that the GBF crew has already planned for disposal of picked up waste and recycling items from shoreline clean ups. If you plan on attending a GBF or Community Association event, this has already been done for you. If you plan on starting your own shoreline clean up, contact Cassie at and she would be happy to assist.

Clean up Events in 2019 – Join One Today!

The #GBFTrashTeam will be travelling throughout various locations around Georgian Bay. Our 2019 Summer tour has ended. Stay tuned for fall and winter cleanup events!

While it is encouraged to bring your own CLEAR garbage bags, gloves and pickers, GBF will supply these items for volunteers.

Register today for a clean up near you by emailing with your contact information and the site you would like to clean up!

Have a site in mind around Georgian Bay that isn't listed? Contact Cassie at to organize a clean up today!

1. Parry Sound Hunters & Anglers Club
October 19
Location: To be determined

Thank you and these amazing supporters for coming together to clean up Georgian Bay

GBF wishes to acknowledge the support of these partners:

Divert and Capture:

The fight to keep microplastics out of our water

The Rochman Lab at the University of Toronto
The Town of Parry Sound
The Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment , Conservation and Parks

Fashion Takes Action
and our many community volunteers!

With great thanks to these funders...

Divert and Capture:

The fight to keep microplastics out of our water

Environment and climate change Canada
RBC Foundation


The Helen McCrea Peacock Foundation

And our many dedicated and passionate friends and donors.

GBF continues to fundraise for $50,000 a year to expand this program.

Further funds would allow us to:

a) expand the project with more households b) expand the areas identified for clean ups c) educate more people on what microplastics are and what everyone can do to help stop the contamination.
Please donate today!