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Lake Ontario gets some love

Non-profit organization A Greener Future hosted a number of shoreline cleanups in Oshawa this month. A Greener Future executive director Rochelle Archibald (at front) was joined by her husband Mike Byrne and one-and-a-half-year old Linden in cleaning up at Lakeview Park. (Photo by Dave Flaherty).

Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

A number of Oshawa residents showed how much they “love their lake” by cleaning up litter in Lakeview Park earlier this month.

The cleanups were part of non-profit A Greener Future’s Love Your Lake program, which takes place in more than 100 locations along Lake Ontario.

Love Your Lake sees volunteers collecting litter in a designated area in their community.

“Families bring their children out, we also have some seniors as well,” Rochelle Archibald, A Greener Future executive director says. “In general, it’s just people who want to get outside and take care of their community.”

Once the cleanups are completed, an inventory of all items is produced.

“We keep track of everything we find,” Archibald says. “It helps us to design programs to address the problem [of shoreline litter].”

Items that cannot be recycled are disposed of, while cans and glass bottles are recycled directly by A Greener Future.

Plastics that are collected are sent to TerraCycle, a Toronto-based company which receives materials typically not accepted at municipal facilities.

From there, TerraCycle then recycles the plastic items into ‘affordable materials and consumer products’.
The Love Your Lake program has been running for approximately two-and-a-half years, with cleanups taking place across Canada and as far away as Portugal and the Bahamas, Archibald says.

Archibald says while the purpose of the Love Your Lake Program is “reduce the amount of garbage going to the landfill”, the true resolution goes deeper than just yearly litter collections.

“We can pick all this stuff up, but the real solution is minimizing our waste in the first place,” she said.

In total, 2,420 items were collected during two cleanups, including 777 cigarette butts, 16 tobacco packages, 125 food wrappers, 70 plastic bottle caps, 20 straws, 14 utensils and 12 personal hygiene items.

Out of all the items collected, 920 items were foam and 283 plastic.

In addition to Love Your Lake, A Greener Future also teams with TerraCycle for the Butt Blitz, a program that focuses on cigarette butt collection.

For more information on A Greener Future, visit agreenerfuture.ca.