Seabin Citizen Science Project

The Sources of Knowledge (SoK) board – in partnership with Inspector Seabin, Parks Canada & Friends of the Bruce District Parks – is launching a three-year citizen science project in 2022 to retrieve, categorize, and quantify debris collected in three Seabins located in Fathom Five National Marine Park in Tobermory, Ontario. The project season will run from mid-May to mid-September each year.

What are Seabins and how does the collection process work?

Seabins are a type of litter capture technology. Much like their counterparts on land, they are helping to keep trash out of the environment! They are put into the water and work by pulling trash into themselves and trapping it there for volunteers to come and remove. You can learn more about the specifics of these Seabins, and the other litter capture technologies, by visiting Georgian Bay Forever’s Diverting, reducing, and re-using plastic page, or The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup’s Cleanup Technology page.

Check out this CNET video about Seabins, read about the University of Toronto’s monitoring protocols, or watch these great videos from the U of T Trash Team on their two types of waste characterization protocols!

Simple Waste Characterization Protocol Tutorial
Detailed Waste Characterization Protocol Tutorial

Want to see where else this technology is being used?
View the Great Lakes and global location maps from the Seabin Project or The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup!

Why is this so important?

Everyone knows that loose trash is terrible; what a lot of people don’t know is how terrible it is. Especially plastics. Plastic pollution has a big impact on the world in many ways – the chemicals they release, the effect it has on wildlife big and small, its impact locally in our Great Lakes and its impact globally on climate change. We want to help combat the pollution any way we can, and we’d like your help!

Check out this article about Plastic pollution accelerating the consequences of climate change in Canada’s Arctic, according to new research.

Or this article about Our Plastic Problem: Impacts of Single-Use Plastics on the Environment.

2021 Pilot Project

In 2021, the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula and Parks Canada worked with Georgian Bay Forever (GBF) to acquire 3 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 8 Seabins and 8 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!

Tobermory Seabins Findings


Inspector Seabin is in need of some help! SoK is looking to hire an individual(s) on a part-time basis (15 hours/week) to coordinate the efforts of a team of volunteers (10-15) and to periodically perform a ‘deep dive’ review of the collected debris in a public setting. Does this position interest you?

Check out the position below or contact Owen and the Inspector at

Volunteer Coordinator and Outreach & Education Liaison

Do you want to help out, but can’t commit to the above position? Sign up today to volunteer for the daily checks!
These checks will be scheduled amongst the team of volunteers based on availability within the group. Contact Owen for details.