Meijer is the first retailer to unveil Great Lakes beach and water cleaning drones in partnership with the Great Lakes Region Council


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., August 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Midwest retailer Meijer launches participation in Great Lakes Plastics Cleanup Program with use of two innovative technologies – the BeBot and Pixie Drone – to clean up beaches and waterways in the Midwest in partnership with the Great Lakes Region Council.

This initiative supports the largest deployment of these types of eco-friendly, remote-controlled devices in several Great Lakes states, which encompass the largest surface freshwater system in the world.

“It’s a privilege to live near the Great Lakes, which inherently entails a responsibility to protect them,” said Meijer’s President and CEO. Rick Keyes said. “Helping to conserve these invaluable waterways is important to the well-being of our ecosystems, our economy and the communities we serve. Meijer has a strong history of environmental stewardship, and we are thrilled to partner with CGLR because the impact of these initiatives will ultimately benefit generations to come.”

Starting this month, Meijer and CGLR will lead clean-up projects at busy beaches, marinas and waterways in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin in partnership with various community, state and environmental NGO partners. The retailer kicked off its efforts with a press conference at Père Marquette Beach in Muskegon earlier this week which included a live demonstration of the innovative equipment:

  • BeBot: An eco-friendly, remote-controlled electric (solar and battery operated) beach cleaning robot – that cleans 32,000 square feet per hour. It rakes the sand without altering the beach environment and collects plastic waste and other waste – bottles, cans, food wrappers, cigarette butts – in a basket for disposal and recycling.
  • Pixie drone: An eco-friendly, remote-controlled aquatic drone — which can collect up to 200 pounds of material per use — will cruise marinas and other waterways to collect plastic trash and other litter floating on the surface of the water. It will also collect other water data, such as temperature, pH, salinity, turbidity, and dissolved oxygen.

Representatives of the Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute (GVSU-AWRI) will operate the equipment along the Muskegon edge of the lake.

“Microplastics have become one of the most pressing issues facing our waterways, both in the Great Lakes and globally; we are both thrilled and honored to be part of Meijer’s initiative to fund new technologies to solve this problem,” said Dr. Al Steinman, Allen and Helen Hunting Research Professor at GVSU-AWRI. “Solving the dilemma of microplastics is essential, not only for the ecology of our local waters, but also for the economy of our coastal communities, who visit and recreate on our beaches and lakes in the hope that they are clean and free of pollutants. The BeBot and the Pixie Drone will help meet these expectations.”

“The City of Muskegon is thrilled to participate in the Great Lakes Plastics Cleanup Program and to house the BeBot and Pixie Drone, which will strengthen stewardship of our precious waterways and majestic Pere Marquette Beach,” Muskegon Mayor Ken Johnson said. “We are thrilled to see these innovative devices in action, and our community is grateful for the collaboration of Meijer, the GVSU Annis Water Resources Institute and the Council of the Great Lakes Region in advancing this environmentally friendly initiative.”

The BeBot and Pixie drones were funded by a $1 million donation that Meijer made to the charitable arm of the CGLR in United States – the CGLR Foundation – earlier this year. The deployment of these devices is part of the expansion of the plastic capture and recovery effort of Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, an initiative launched in 2020 by CGLR and Pollution Probe.

“The Great Lakes, which are at the heart of the Great Lakes Binational Economic Region, are a natural resource of global significance,” said Mark Fisher, President and CEO of CGLR. “By partnering with companies like Meijer, who share CGLR’s strong commitment to building the future sustainability and economy of the region today, we are able to keep our beaches and waterways clean and litter-free. plastics as we strive to ensure the materials we use as consumers never become waste by embracing a circular economy mindset in the region.”

Meijer is also working on numerous store-level projects that impact the Great Lakes, including one with CGLR to install rainwater gutter filtration systems at select Meijer supercenters. Gutter pans will capture and prevent trash, debris, microplastics and other harmful stormwater pollutants from flowing into nearby waterways. Each trash can captures hundreds of pounds of pollution per year.

The retailer is in the midst of two more stormwater treatment projects to upgrade its parking lots. cross the city and Benton Harbor supercenters with green infrastructure and continues its partnership with the Great Lakes Alliance on a handful of beach cleanup efforts.

“The Great Lakes are an area of ​​immense value, and we are proud to be actively involved in protecting these local waterways,” said Erik PetrovskisDirector of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability at Meijer.

Watch the video of the BeBot and Pixie Drone in action here.

About Meijer: Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer that operates 262 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Privately owned and family owned since 1934, Meijer pioneered the “one stop shop” concept and has evolved over the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, full clothing departments, departments for pets, garden centers, toys and electronics. For more information about Meijer, please visit Follow Meijer on Twitter at and or become a fan at

About the Council of the Great Lakes Region: The Great Lakes Regional Council is a binational network of organizations including: (1) the Great Lakes Regional Council of the United States, an Ohio-based trade association; (2) the CGLR Foundation, an Ohio-based public charity; and the Council of the Great Lakes Region of Canada, a not-for-profit corporation. Together, these organizations, collectively referred to as the Council of the Great Lakes Region, are leading a new era of economic growth, environmental protection and individual well-being by strengthening today’s competitiveness and long-term sustainability of the region. For more information, please visit and Follow CGLR on Twitter at and GLPC on Twitter at

About the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup: The Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, a joint initiative of the Council of the Great Lakes Region and Pollution Probe, supported by a network of funders and collaborators, uses innovative capture and cleanup technology to eliminate plastics and other waste from Lake Ontario to Lake Superior and everywhere in between. Through research, outreach and education, the GLPC collects data on waste entering our waterways and identifies how government, industry and consumers can work together to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. material waste. To learn more, visit or follow the GLPC on Twitter at

About Grand Valley State University Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute: AWRI is a multidisciplinary research organization with GVSU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. AWRI’s mission is to integrate research, education and outreach to improve and preserve freshwater resources. To learn more, visit



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