CGLR Program
Circular Great Lakes:
Forging a Future Without Waste

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Valuable materials are lost to landfills and the environment, especially plastics. In fact, it is estimated that 22 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes every year. According to the Rochester Institute of Technology, plastic debris accounts for around 80% of the litter found on the Great Lakes shoreline. Creating a binational Great Lakes circular economy and cleaning up marine litter is one way to close the loop and keep critical materials cycling through the regional economy.

At the Council of the Great Lakes Region, we have programs to build the collaborative approaches for a truly circular economy. Scroll down for Ontario Materials Markeplace Program and Great Lakes Plastics Clean Up Program.

Ontario Materials Marketplace Program

The Ontario Materials Marketplace gives manufacturers practical ways to save money, improve supply chain resilience and generate value through the reuse and recycling of materials. More than 2,000 businesses and organizations – large and small – are using the Materials Marketplace across North America, 1,300 of which are doing business in the binational Great Lakes economic region.

More than a static materials exchange, listings, user capabilities and conversations on the Materials Marketplace are actively monitored, and reuse opportunities are identified and pushed to qualified companies as recommendations. If parties involved need assistance or an opportunity stalls, the program is there to step in and facilitate movement.

Undertaken in collaboration with the United States Business Council for Sustainable Development (USBCSD) and Pollution Probe, the Ontario Materials Marketplace will use the USBCSD’s novel, cloud-based materials marketplace platform to create and pilot a materials marketplace in Ontario for the industrial, commercial, and institutional sector (IC&I) – a first in Canada.

The Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan and the Government of Canada’s zero-waste strategies emphasize material value recovery and competitive and sustainable end-markets as priorities for waste management. Ontario’s Special Advisor on Recycling and Plastic Waste has also stated that the province of Ontario can become a leading processor of recyclables for the Great Lakes region.

The Marketplace will connect the IC&I sector in Ontario, which includes hospitals, educational institutions, hotels, office buildings, retail shopping complexes, and large manufacturing establishments, to new reuse and recycling opportunities for hard-to-recycle and by-product materials, keeping the value of this material in the economy and out of landfills.

The Marketplace is also designed to provide cost savings to participants – for instance, through savings from reduced landfill disposal costs and potential availability of cheaper, recycled feedstock. By redefining waste as a resource, the program can help the IC&I sector achieve a range of sustainability goals and provide triple bottom line benefits – environmental, social, and economic.

Once launched, this project also aims to link Ontario’s materials marketplace pilot to existing marketplaces in Michigan and Ohio, creating regional trade opportunities and supporting the shift to a circular economy.

Read more about the initiative and watch the August 26 webcast, here.

For more information, contact:
Mark Fisher, CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region
613-668-2044 / mark@councilgreatlakesregion.org

Great Lakes Plastic Clean Up Program

The Great Lakes Plastic Clean Up employs two innovative technologies, the Seabin (https://seabinproject.com/) and LittaTrap (https://www.enviropod.com/), to capture and recover plastic debris at marinas along Ontario’s Great Lakes shorelines. The project is being rolled out in partnership with Pollution Probe, Boating Ontario, the University of Toronto Trash Team, PortsToronto, EnviroPod, Water Products and Solutions-America, and Poralu Marine, with financial support from Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The first phase of the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup initiative (www.greatlakesplasticcleanup.org) includes founding partners Pollution Probe, the University of Toronto (U of T) Trash Team, Boating Ontario, PortsToronto, as well as collaborators EnviroPod, Water Products and Solutions-America, Poralu Marine and Georgian Bay Forever.

Through the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup initiative, CGLR, working alongside its project partners, will spearhead and support the largest single deployment of two innovative technologies in the world, the Seabin (https://seabinproject.com/) and the LittaTrap (www.enviropod.com/), to capture and recover plastic debris along Ontario’s Great Lakes shorelines.

In total, 16 Seabin devices will be installed through this of phase of the initiative, which will help researchers study plastic pollution in our waterways. During a recent PortsToronto pilot of Seabins in Toronto’s Outer Harbour Marina, a partnership with student researchers from the University of Toronto’s Trash Team, found that two Seabins collected up to two kilograms of litter per day, capturing a wide array of plastic pollution, including microplastics, and other debris.

For more information, contact:
Mark Fisher, CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region
613-668-2044 / mark@councilgreatlakesregion.org