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, fun, positive, creative, 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 Theory of Change
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.
Hannah De Frond
International Trash Trap Network Coordinator
Hannah works in collaboration with the University of Toronto Trash Team and the Ocean Conservancy to expand the International Trash Trap Network, and to document the collective impact of installing trash capture devices around the world. She has always had a keen interest in problem solving and solutions-based research and received her MSc in Marine Environmental Management from the University of York, UK. Previously, Hannah was a researcher and laboratory technician at the University of Toronto where her work focused on testing and improving methods used to analyze microplastics in the laboratory.
Arts and Visual Communications Specialist
Emily holds a Master of Fine Art from the Glasgow School of Art and an undergraduate combined Honours degree from the University of King’s College in Contemporary Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. In Emily’s artistic practice she uses waste-materials to build sculpture-based public installations. Originally from Toronto, Emily spent the last several years living and making artwork in Dawson City, Yukon, with interspersed adventures to many places around the world.
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.
Cassandra Sherlock – Community Outreach and Research Specialist