Increasing Waste Literacy to Fight Plastic Pollution
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
Who we Are
We aim to connect people and increase literacy concerning material consumption and waste with fun, creative and practical actions. We use education, public outreach and scientific research to deliver evidence-based solutions to decrease solid waste and promote a circular economy.
We envision a fun and engaged waste-literate community actively working to protect people, wildlife and the planet through the intersection of science, policy, community engagement and innovation that promote waste reduction.
We are team-oriented, collaborative, fun, creative, positive, inclusive, respectful, supportive and non-judgmental.
In our community, everyone is treated as an equal and with respect.
How we Work
Data-driven projects to help inform solutions.
Elementary classroom programs and ongoing public education, for all ages.
A range of programs including cleanups and presentations throughout the year.
Our Team in Action
Meet the Team
Founding Members and Program Leads
Head of Operations and the Program Lead of Scientific Programming and Application
Chelsea has been researching the sources, sinks and ecological implications of plastic debris for more than a decade. In addition to research, Chelsea works to translate science beyond academia. For example, she presented her work to the United Nations General Assembly and at the US State Department. Moreover, she has served as an expert witness for both the Canadian and United States government.
Program Lead of Volunteer Engagement and Community Programs
Susan received her BSc in Zoology with a minor in Psychology from the University of Guelph and a certificate of Ecosystem Management Technology through Fleming College. She also received a certificate in the Fundamentals of Volunteer Management through Humber College. She is passionate about connecting individuals with meaningful opportunities and spent over a decade supporting a national network of community volunteers through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
Program Lead of Social Science and Educational Programs
Rafaela received her PhD in Science and Technology Policy from the Institute of Geosciences, UNICAMP, Brazil. Rafaela Gutierrez is a social scientist with expertise in waste policy. She has a keen interest in up- and downstream processes for plastic recycling. Over the past decade, she has studied, advocated and worked with low-income communities in Brazil focusing on how to improve the socio-productive integration of waste pickers into formal recycling streams.
Community Outreach and Research Specialist
Cassandra received her Honours BSc from U of T in Spring 2020, specializing in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. During undergraduate, she was a Research Assistant in the Rochman Lab, assisting with projects and leading her own honours thesis project investigating microplastics in tree swallow nestlings. Cassandra focuses on our Solutions-based Research programs, specifically Fighting Floatables in the Toronto Harbour and the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup.
With a small support staff, our volunteers fuel the organization with new ideas, positive energy, passion and talent. They are empowered to co-create meaningful experiences and programs on waste literacy. Our team is made up of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, early-career researchers, and members from outside the U of T community. These volunteers are predominantly young adults, gaining experience and expertise to be the next leaders in our environmental movement.