Inspector Seabin Resources

Seabin Collection, Emptying, and Categorization

What did Inspector Seabin find? Detailed Results from the 2022 Waste Characterization Study

Between mid-May and mid-September 2022 three seabins were deployed in the Fathom Five harbours at Tobermory. (One in Big Tub at the Marine Operation Base, one at the Fuel Dock in Little Tub, and one at the main dock in Little Tub.) A study was undertaken to find out just what is in our water!
A team of 20 local citizen science volunteers provided all of the ground work for this study, which included:
  • daily monitoring of each seabin at each location,
  • emptying of the seabins and disposing of the collected debris,
  • measuring the collected debris and submitting Simple Waste Characterization reports through a dedicated phone app,
  • performing a total of 18 Detailed Waste Characterizations in accordance with ITTN protocol and submitting this data to the University of Toronto Rochman Lab.
Here is what they found:

Project Duration: 122 days

Number of Bin Empties and Recordings: 120

Total Debris Collected: 112 kg

Total Plastic Collected: 1.2 kg

Number of Small Items Collected: 1110

Number of Large Items Collected: 1200

Percentage of Total Per Bin:
Little Tub 50%
Fuel Docks 25%
Big Tub 25%

Click to view large and small item breakdown by percent

Click to view large and small item breakdown by count

Data sharing: The International Trash Trap Network

All local data collected from our trash traps is shared with the International Trash Trap network (ITTN), a collaboration between the U of T Trash Team and Ocean Conservancy. The ITTN aims to exponentially increase global cleanup efforts and to quantify our collective impact as part of the International Coastal Cleanup™. The network also aims to bring together local stakeholders to build trash trapping programs that will engage the community and inform upstream solutions.

If you work with a trash trapping device or are interested in learning more, email the ITTN at and visit the International Trash Trap Network to learn how you can join the network and increase your impact.

Simple Waste Characterization Protocol Tutorial

Video Credit: U of T Trash Team

Detailed Waste Characterization Protocol Tutorial

Video Credit: U of T Trash Team

Photo Credit: Angela Compagnone

Impact of Plastic Pollution

A Billion Bottles

More than 10,000 metric tonnes (22 million pounds) of plastic pollution ends up in the Great Lakes every year, according Rochester Institute of Technology. And growing.

It enters our water as food and beverage containers, clothing fibres, plastic bags, cigarette butts, etc.

However it is difficult to visualize how big a problem this is. For illustrative purposes, let’s assume all of that pollution takes the form of the common 500ml drink size single use plastic water bottle.

Our annual waste now becomes 1 billion bottles. And if strung together end to end, they would circle the world’s equator about 3 ½ times.

Or maybe looking at it in terms more close to home, let’s space those same bottles equally over the surface of Georgian Bay. (15,000 sq. km.) A swimmer enjoying the cool waters of Georgian Bay would never be farther than about 4 m from bottle in all directions, from coast to coast to the Lake Huron boundary.

Unfortunately, the plastic does not go away, but breaks down eventually into pieces small enough to enter aquatic life and our drinking systems.

Estimates suggest that the consumption of plastics will double over the next 25 years.

With the current rate of plastic recycling of recyclable material at about 9%, other measures must be employed to ensure the health of the source of life for over 30 million Great Lakes Basin inhabitants. The Great Lakes represent 84% of North America’s fresh surface water.

The most effective way to reduce the plastic pollution burden is to not manufacture, distribute and dispose of it in the first place. “Single Use” must be questioned and evaluated against reusable and/or degradable products.

Owen Glendon

Details of the Inspector Seabin 2021 Pilot Project

In 2021, the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula and Parks Canada worked with Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) to acquire three Seabins for use in our area. Two of these Seabins were deployed during the summer season (in Little Tub Harbour and at the Marine Operations Base in Big Tub Harbour – Tobermory). Although little sampling was done during this pilot period, the findings were consistent with GBF’s Diversion 2.0 Project findings.

Georgian Bay Forever and their Diversion 2.0 partners installed eight Seabins and eight Gutter Bins to try out the devices and learn more about the plastic litter making its way into Georgian Bay. From their detailed waste characterizations, the top 10 litter types found included hard plastic fragments, foam pieces, film fragments, and disposable masks. Check out their Diversion 2.0 Project Summary for more information!

Contact the Inspector Seabin Project

Volunteer Opportunities

Do you want to help out Inspector Seabin? Sign up today to volunteer for the daily checks and deep dives! These checks will be scheduled amongst the team of volunteers based on availability within the group.

Contact Owen and the Inspector for more details at