On Sunday, April 28, an enthusiastic group of 118 volunteers came together to remove over 9000 litres of marine litter from our Mayne Island beaches. This annual event is sponsored by the Mayne Island Recycling Society (MIRS) and the Conservancy.

Continuous Clean-Up

As you’ve likely noticed, marine litter doesn’t wait for clean-up day, and can wash up at any time. Mayne islanders and visitors have been responding throughout the year, cleaning our local beaches while enjoying them. This is evidenced by debris piles at the entrance to many island beaches. Recently, Mayne Island Garbage Service removed a large pile of pre-clean-up day debris from Piggott Bay free of charge. To them and all who clean beaches on a continuous basis, a huge “Thank you!”  

What Happens to the Beach Litter After It’s Collected?

When beach clean-up crew “captains” (or their transport volunteers) arrive at the recycling depot to drop off the collected refuse, a team of MIRS volunteers helps them sort it into the appropriate containers. We aim to recycle most of the refuse collected by sending it to Ocean Legacy Foundation. Ocean Legacy can recycle lots of items that regular recyclers can’t, like Styrofoam filled tires, hard plastic items and fragments, foam floats, plastic ropes and netting, oyster baskets, and even plastic-coated dock floats, and they recycle community beach clean-up material absolutely free. This year, we were able to divert 72% of what we collected from the landfill to Ocean Legacy.

After sorting, the collected material is transported to the Ocean Legacy warehouse in Richmond. A big shout-out to Mayne Hardware Freight for transporting the clean-up material free of charge!

Post-Clean-Up Party and Prizes

For the first time this year, we celebrated our clean beaches with a post-clean-up party at Dinner Bay that included food, games, and prizes. Prize categories and winners were:

  • Weirdest item found: Full size mattress, at Lighthouse & Maude Bay (Carly and Kenny McWilliams, captains)
  • Nicest item found: a cell phone, at Bennett Bay (Mike Nadeau, captain)
  • Biggest crew: 16 people at Piggott and Gallagher Bay (Kim Harris, captain)
  • Kid’s participation: Clementine, who picked up over 100 pieces of litter with her Dad
  • Biggest Difference Made: Campbell Bay, for inspiring kids to care for our beaches (Hannah Epperson, captain)

Clean-Up Video

This year, the SGI Tourism Partnership sponsored a video of the clean-up with the aim of encouraging tourists to pick up litter whenever they visit, supporting conservation work on the island, and creating a culture where tourists leave the island better than they found it. Take a look at the video created by videographer Rachael Tancock (the Nature Educator) and her partner Tyler.

Thank You

Thank you to The Trading Post for donating weirdest item prize, and to Tru Value for party food. Many thanks to Justine for recruiting new captains, advertising the clean-up, cleaning up Miner’s Bay beach with 30 kids from the Mayne School, and organizing the party! She even brought dishes and mugs so we didn’t need to use disposables. And last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to everyone who took part, whether collecting, sorting, transporting, or cooking, in making this year’s clean-up a success.


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