U of T Trash Team

Blog Submitted by Michael Frankfort, Co-Chair of STAO Elementary Curriculum Committee

U of T Trash Team

Who we Are

The U of T Trash Team is a science-based community outreach group made up of undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, researchers, local volunteers and staff all working together with a common goal to increase waste literacy in our community while reducing plastic pollution in our ecosystems. We were founded in 2017 in collaboration with the Rochman Lab, part of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto.

2022 U of T Sustainable Action Award recipient, recognizing contributions to sustainability at the University of Toronto and in the community.

Our Mission

We aim to connect people and increase literacy concerning material consumption and waste with fun, creative and practical actions. We use education, public outreach and scientific research to deliver evidence-based solutions to decrease solid waste and promote a circular economy.

Our Vision

We envision a fun and engaged waste-literate community actively working to protect people, wildlife and the planet through the intersection of science, policy, community engagement and innovation that promote waste reduction.

Our Values

We are team-oriented, fun, positive, creative, inclusive, respectful, supportive and non-judgmental.

In our community, everyone is treated as an equal and with respect.

How we Work

Our local projects use research to inform policy and management, and education and community outreach to increase waste literacy, engage the public and implement effective solutions.

Solutions-based Research

Data-driven projects to help inform solutions.


Elementary classroom programs and ongoing public education, for all ages.

Community Outreach

A range of programs including cleanups and presentations throughout the year.

Our Theory of Change

Scientific evidence informs our work, and through our three connected workstreams (solutions-based research, community outreach and education) we work locally and build collaborations globally to reduce plastic pollution. We could not do this work without the energy of our volunteers, who make it possible to achieve our goals related to policy, healthy ecosystems and community engagement.