Skip to content

These young Bowen Islanders spend their weekends picking up beer cans thrown into roadside ditches

Along one section of Grafton Road, the girls collected at least 300 cans in one afternoon
Ela and Hadley hold up their trash pickers
Weekend fun: Ela (left) and Hadley (right) have spent their spare time in recent weeks cleaning up the cans along Bowen roadsides. The girls have collected more than 1,200 cans so far.

Most weekends for the past couple of months, Bowen Island grade seven students and best friends Ela and Hadley and Hadley's younger sister Georgia have scoured Bowen Island roadsides, picking up all of the cans they can find. 

“We were just bored one day, did a little bit and it was really fun,” says Hadley. 


Ela in a ditch holding a beer can with a trash pickerEla spots an Old Milwaukee beer can down in a ditch. . By Bronwyn Beairsto


“We just really enjoy cleaning up the environment,” says Ela, “just doing good things for the island.”

“You have to go really deep down into the ditch,” says Hadley. 

“It’s just fun to go around and pick up cans,” says Ela. 

Of the 1,234 cans so far collected, probably 90 per cent are alcohol cans. The most common cans are Budweiser and Nutrls, Hadley guesses. 

Other items found along roadsides include pliers, a sawblade, yogurt containers, an old burn barrel, a chair and a mug.


Hadley Shannon holding up a beer can with a trash pickerHadley snags another beer can in Tunstall Bay. Ninety per cent of the cans the girls find are alcohol cans. . By Bronwyn Beairsto


At first the girls were picking up cans with their gloved hands but then one of Hadley’s father’s friends gave them garbage picking tools.

“Some people drive by [and] give us a thumbs up and say good job,” says Ela. 

The worst stretch of road so far was between the bottom of Sunset Drive to Harding Road where the girls collected at least 300 cans in an afternoon. 

But they’re not done yet; watch for Hadley and Ela next weekend in Bluewater, Scarborough and along Miller Road.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks