Fighting for Trash Free Seas®

Ending the flow of trash at the source

International Trash Trap Network

Connecting Local Solutions to Tackle Global Plastic Pollution

© Centre for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD)

The Problem

Globally, the contamination of plastic waste in freshwater, marine and coastal ecosystems is increasing. We estimate that roughly 30 million tons of plastic waste entered aquatic ecosystems in 2020. If we continue business as usual, this number may increase as much as three-fold by 2030. There is no time to waste, and we all must do our part.

The Solution

© University of Toronto Trash Team

The International Trash Trap Network (ITTN) is a collaboration between Ocean Conservancy and the U of T Trash Team to inspire groups around the world to trap trash on their waterfronts, and to quantify this impact collectively as part of the International Coastal Cleanup™. Our goal is to exponentially increase the International Coastal Cleanup’s™ annual collection. We also aim to target the small plastic pieces, including microplastics, that are often too challenging to collect by hand.

Trash trapping technologies are an effective tool for reducing the amount of plastic waste in our aquatic systems. They are an important addition to community cleanups, trapping trash around the clock and helping us increase the amount of litter collected. There are many successful trash trapping technologies and we aim to link these local efforts while inspiring new projects across the globe.

If we truly combine our efforts to strengthen and increase the amount of plastic waste cleaned up around the world, we can make a measurable difference. And we can do it better together.

Trash trapping technologies do more than divert litter from aquatic ecosystems. They collect data, allowing us to quantitatively measure our impact and inform local source-reduction by understanding what we are collecting. They also raise awareness, and can be a centerpiece for education and outreach, inspiring imagination in the community and gaining attention from the media.

Connect with the International Trash Trap Network on Facebook and Twitter to find out more.

Measuring Our Impact

If you work with a trash trapping device you can help increase your impact and contribute to this growing network by collecting and submitting data about what you’re collecting. The resources below will help you collect and share data from trash trapping devices with the International Trash Trap Network.

Sharing & Collecting Your Data
There are two ways to collect data:

  1. A simple daily quantification of litter
  2. A deep dive analysis (we recommend you carry this out 5-10 times a year).

The protocols below can help you capture your data:

Once you’ve collected your data, you can share it with the International Trash Trap Network in a few ways:

These training video are helpful guides on using these protocols:

Simple Waste Characterization Protocol Tutorial
Detailed Waste Characterization Protocol Tutorial


Visual Audit

Prior to purchasing or deploying your trash capture device, we recommend you assess your watershed. We have developed an easy method to help you determine the best placement for your device!

Workshop: Trapping Trash and Diverting it from our Waterways

Watch the replay of this 2-day virtual workshop for capacity building and learning about trapping trash as a solution to the global issue of plastic pollution.

Day 1
Day 2

More Information

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