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Analyses of the litter collected in the capture and cleanup devices installed at our network of participant sites across the Great Lakes!

What we've captured to-date (2020-2021)

Our waste characterization team sorts debris into these categories:

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Small Foam Pieces

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Small Hard Fragments  


Small Pellets

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Small Film Pieces

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Large Foam Pieces

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Large Fragments

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Large Film Pieces


Cigarette Butts

The data shown is based on what is reported from the participating sites. We anticipate that there is more being collected by the plastic capture devices

(e.g., on days where data is not collected or reported)!

Each Seabin and LittaTrap™ collects a slightly different quantity of debris each day, depending on a wide range of factors including the location of the marina it is installed at, weather conditions, and more. Here's the data broken down by year and how our devices did on average across all our participating sites. 

The longer the devices stay in the water, the more plastic they collect. We have also been finding lots of small hard fragments, foam and film (all of which are very light), so the overall weight of the catch is much smaller than you might think. 

2021 Findings

Breakdown of Litter by Category

Average Daily Amount of
Litter Captured per Device 

2020 Findings

Average Daily Amount of
Litter Captured per Device

Breakdown of Litter by Category

Lake by lake

The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup is collecting plastic from all across the Great Lakes (check out our site network here!) As we collect more and more data, we'll be building up an increasingly detailed 'plastic profile' of each of the lakes, mapping trends for the different types and relative amounts of plastic in each. 

Hover over each lake to find out about the debris we have collected so far!

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Lake Huron
(11 sites)

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Lake Ontario
(6 sites)

Stay tuned for
2022 data!

Stay tuned for 2021 data!

Lake Michigan

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Lake Erie
(2 sites)

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Lake Superior
(1 site)

The (Data) Story By Site

Click on the name of a site to learn more about the litter we've found there!

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