Watch ocean plastic "pollution” transform into circular economy materials!

Last updated on
Wednesday, February 28th, 2024
Experience type: 
Program Description

Brief description of program: 

This unique field trip offers students an on-site tour of the first and only facility in North America dedicated to recovery and recycling of ocean plastic with direct traceability to ocean recovery expeditions. It includes hands-on interactive sorting of ocean plastics.

Can’t get to our facility? Be sure to check out our FREE online program, EPIC Academy at:

Full Trip Details: 

Ocean Legacy Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the ocean plastic pollution crisis, and strengthening the plastic circular economy through our recycling program. Our work is built on a four-pillar program called EPIC, which stands for Education, Policy, Infrastructure, and Cleanup.

Education and Policy are upstream efforts that prevent plastics and other waste from reaching our oceans and waterways. Infrastructure and Cleanup are downstream initiatives that seek to remove plastics from our oceans and shorelines, and process them for reintroduction into the plastic circular economy. 

The field trip will occur primarily outdoors at our Plastic Pollution Emergency Response recycling facility located at Steveston Harbour in Richmond. Ours is the first and only facility that collects marine plastics from a wide variety of sources to recover what was considered waste and turns it back into reusable plastic. Sources include: our own cleanup expeditions on coastal waters and shorelines, the Ocean Legacy network of Ocean Plastic Depots across BC and Atlantic Canada, used marine/fishing gear, ghost gear, materials collected by other non-profit cleanup organizations and marine industrial businesses. 

The tour offers an opportunity to see the process used to convert recovered marine plastic back into high-grade 100% post-consumer processed plastic pellets for use in the manufacturing of durable products as part of the circular economy. Ultimately, the goal of the field trip is to foster understanding of the plastic pollution crisis and circular economy principles: what is considered waste, how much of what consumers use daily is actually recyclable/recoverable, and to provide students with hands-on interaction with marine debris. Students develop awareness of their own plastic consumption habits, and ways they can take direct action to become part of the solution. Students will see the transformation of ocean plastic waste into new resources that have economic value.

Knowledge gained in this field trip can be enhanced when paired with EPIC Academy, Ocean Legacy's 10 lessons of no-cost/fully-funded online ocean plastics education. This LMS platform offers access to both individual online learners and also has downloadable materials for classroom educators. Includes classroom PowerPoint presentations, fully developed lesson plans, reflective activities and quizzes/answers sheets.

Fieldtrip structure:

  • Walk the facility perimeter to see the equipment and portions of the recovery process
  • Watch ocean plastics recycling in action
  • Identify resin codes
  • Sort items you see and use at home: a large bag of ocean-recovered plastic materials will be emptied to engage all students in an interactive sorting activity that demonstrates what types of commonly used plastics end up in the ocean. This prompts students consider their consumption habits and connects cause and effect of reduced consumption and proper disposal
  • See benches and lumber made from ocean-recovered plastic

What to bring:

  • Work gloves for sorting
  • Closed-toe shoes are required for safety
  • Snacks 
  • Water bottle (can be refilled with filtered water on-site if needed)

One single stall/private washroom is available on site.

FREE PARKING - is available on Chatham street; pay parking is also available in the lot directly in front of our facility.


Big Ideas
  • Public identity is influenced by personal choices and decisions.
  • Adapting to economic and labour market changes requires flexibility.
  • The global economy affects our personal, social, and economic lives and prospects.
  • Designs can be improved with prototyping and testing.
  • Complex tasks may require multiple tools and technologies.
  • Design can be responsive to identified needs.
  • Complex tasks require different technologies and tools at different stages.
  • Social, ethical, and sustainability considerations impact design.
  • All living things sense and respond to their environment.
  • Energy can be transformed.
  • Matter has mass, takes up space, and can change phase.
  • Machines are devices that transfer force and energy.
  • Everyday materials are often mixtures.
  • Multicellular organisms rely on internal systems to survive, reproduce, and interact with their environment.
  • Earth and its climate have changed over geological time.
  • Elements consist of one type of atom, and compounds consist of atoms of different elements chemically combined.
  • Life processes are performed at the cellular level.
  • The biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere are interconnected, as matter cycles and energy flows through them.
  • Advocating for the health and well-being of others connects us to our community.
  • The pursuit of valuable natural resources has played a key role in changing the land, people, and communities of Canada.
  • Natural resources continue to shape the economy and identity of different regions of Canada.
  • Complex global problems require international cooperation to make difficult choices for the future.
  • Economic self-interest can be a significant cause of conflict among peoples and governments.
  • Systems of government vary in their respect for human rights and freedoms.
  • Economic specialization and trade networks can lead to conflict and cooperation between societies.
  • Increasingly complex societies required new systems of laws and government.
  • Changing ideas about the world created tension between people wanting to adopt new ideas and those wanting to preserve established traditions.
  • Exploration, expansion, and colonization had varying consequences for different groups.
  • Human and environmental factors shape changes in population and living standards.
  • The physical environment influences the nature of political, social, and economic change.
  • COVID Precautions

    Hand sanitizer is available. Visitors may choose to wear a mask and practice social distancing as required. The tour is primarily conducted outdoors.

    Trip Details
    For Grades: 
    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
    Days Offered: 
    60 minutes unless otherwise stated.
    Maximum Students: 
    Offered In French: 
    Also Offered For: 
    Daycamps, Guides, Homeschool, Scouts
    Packages Provided: 
    No Packages Provided
    Fee Details
    Cost Per Student: 
    Cost Per Adult: 
    Fee Notes: 

    Free/no cost 

    Additional Notes


    • No smoking/vaping onsite. This will be strictly enforced. Violation will result in removal from the premises.
    • The facility is a loud, active work environment where forklifts and other machinery are actively at work; group leaders and students MUST remain alert to equipment and STAY TOGETHER with their assigned tour leader AT ALL TIMES to ensure safety.

    Max class size 30 students, will be divided into 2 groups of 15. Please contact us if your tour group is larger than this. We will do our best to accommodate you and this may involve rotating groups out to an activity at a nearby location.

    Tours are available between 10:30am and 3:30pm.