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Cigarette butts, plastic and food wrappers remain top litter items on Canadian shorelines

Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup releases its annual Dirty Dozen list, exposing the most-commonly found litter on Canadian shorelines in 2022.

Vancouver, September 14, 2023 – Cigarette butts once again top the list of Ocean Wise’s Dirty Dozen, contributing a significant 1/3 of litter found during Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanups across the country.

The Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup has compiled its ‘Dirty Dozen’ list for 2022 – comprising of the 12 most frequently found items based on citizen science data collected from shoreline cleanups across the country – and shared this through an article by Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson . Unsurprisingly, cigarette butts feature at the top, as do plastic pieces and food wrappers.

As Canada’s single-use plastics ban comes into effect this December, this year’s Dirty Dozen list is especially relevant, as it will help to measure the impact of the ban on our shorelines in the years to come. Since 1994 Ocean Wise has been engaging local communities through its shoreline cleanup program and compiling data on the most common litter items. Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup’s, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, is Canada’s largest direct-action program having hosted more than 30,000 shoreline cleanups with over 1,000,000 volunteers in its 29-year history!

International Coastal Cleanup Day in Toronto

To celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day and the release of the 2022 Dirty Dozen list, Ocean Wise is gathering with hundreds of volunteers at Woodbine Beach in Toronto on June 16th.  The goal? To raise awareness about plastic pollution and stop the leak of litter into our ocean. Ocean lovers are invited to come out and join us for a fun and meaningful day that’s sure to be a blast!

Event Details:

Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup

The Ocean Wise Shoreline Cleanup is a conservation program that provides families, businesses and community groups the opportunity to take action to help protect waterways in their community, one bit of trash at a time.

Ocean Wise

Ocean Wise is a globally focused conservation organization on a mission to restore and protect our oceans. Through research, education, public engagement, and international collaborations, we empower communities to fight three major ocean challenges: ocean pollution, overfishing and climate change. By equipping and empowering individuals, communities, industries, and governments, we can create a future where people and our oceans can thrive. Ocean Wise is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia with staff across Canada, and Chile, and operates conservation projects that make national and international impact.  Learn more at

Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw is Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, and the nation’s largest retailer. Loblaw provides Canadians with grocery, pharmacy, health and beauty, apparel, general merchandise, financial services and wireless mobile products and services. With more than 2,400 corporate, franchised and Associate-owned locations, Loblaw, its franchisees and Associate-owners employ approximately 221,000 full- and part-time employees, making it one of Canada’s largest private sector employers.

Loblaw’s purpose – Live Life Well®  – puts first the needs and well-being of Canadians who make one billion transactions annually in the company’s stores. Loblaw is positioned to meet and exceed those needs in many ways: convenient locations; more than 1,050 grocery stores that span the value spectrum from discount to specialty; full-service pharmacies at nearly 1,350 Shoppers Drug Mart® and Pharmaprix® locations and close to 500 Loblaw locations; PC Financial®  services; affordable Joe Fresh®  fashion and family apparel; and four of Canada’s top-consumer brands in Life Brand®, Farmer’s Market™, no name® and President’s Choice®.

For additional information, please contact:

Cayley Elcombe
Communications Specialist
Ocean Wise
[email protected]

Posted September 14, 2023 by Nic Schulz

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