Module 4: Exploring Plastic Pollution with Plastic Free Ocean


In light of Ocean Wise’s Plastic-Free July campaign, we’d like to spend two modules exploring ocean and freshwater pollution. Plastic pollution is one of the biggest challenges that our waterways face – ‘plastics’ is a catch-all term for a variety of contaminants, a complicated issue that requires public education & action, on-going scientific research and policy changes to unpack. In our upcoming National Dialogue, we have invited Laura Hardman, the Director of Ocean Wise – Plastic Free Ocean to speak about their work and its importance.

In order to take steps to tackle plastic solution issues, we believe that it’s important that we first understand our own impacts on ocean/freshwater pollution. To do so, Laura will walk us through how to do a plastic audit. Following the National Dialogue, you will participate in this activity to better understand your individual/household plastic footprint and contribute to an ongoing data set to better understand the plastic habits of Canadians.

Meet Our Speaker

Laura Hardman leads the Plastic Free Oceans strategy at Ocean Wise. She manages our plastics program and brings together fantastic initiatives including the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean Up, Plastics Wise and The Microfiber Partnership in pursuit of our ambitious 2030 targets and, ultimately, to protect our oceans from the threat of plastic pollution. Laura has an LLB in Law and studied MSC Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainability, as a postgraduate, at Birkbeck University of London. Since starting a career in sustainability in 2011, Laura has worked for several multi-national corporations and become increasingly passionate about the theory systems change and impact metrics. Most of all she believes that we all have a role to play, and that we can all be a force for good.

Learning Outcomes

  • To develop an understanding of the approach of which OW Plastics-Free Ocean initiative address and tackling plastic pollution.
  • To realize the problem of plastic pollution and the emerging, on-going solutions that involve science, citizen science/education, and policy makers
  • To explore personal connections – to become aware of your own/household plastic footprint through participating in a plastic audit

Pre-dialogue Action Items

Dialogue Agenda

August 11, 2021 @ 1-2pm PT / 4 – 5pm ET / 5 – 6pm AT

  • Introduction (5min)
  • Presentation by Laura Hardman (35mins)
  • Q & A (15mins)

Post-dialogue Discussion Task

  1. Participate in the Plastics Audit, record your data using the data card here
  2. Your results are very valuable to science - submit your results here as well for The Plastics Free Ocean team
  3. Record your process (picture/videos) and report your results through either asynchronous or synchronous discussion


Continue to Module 5: Solutions to Pollution - Starting with Citizen Science »