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September 6, 2006
Less litter = clean and beautiful
The 2006 litter audit conducted for the City of Toronto this summer, by the same independent firm hired for the previous litter audits, shows that litter in the city is down by 40 per cent since 2002. These results, which double the 20 per cent improvement indicated in 2005, demonstrate that the City is moving positively toward the goal set in 2002 of reducing litter by 50 per cent over a five-year period (2002-2007). Less litter contributes to a clean city, the foundation for neighbourhood beautification.

Mayor David Miller said, “On behalf of the City, I am very proud of our 40 per cent litter reduction. I salute the collective efforts of residents, businesses, associations and City staff that contributed to this turn-around. Keeping Toronto clean and beautiful is up to all of us. Everyone is living up to their commitment and it’s reflected positively in the city’s appearance.”

Factors contributing to this significant improvement in litter reduction include a number of operational adjustments, such as a reallocation of equipment and personnel to litter-challenged areas and the increased use of mechanized street and sidewalk cleaning equipment featuring state-of-the-art ‘waterless/dustless’ sweepers that have lower air emissions and can be used year-round. The number and location of litter bins has increased on city streets since 2002, better facilitating safe disposal of garbage. The 64 manual street cleaning ‘Bag & Broom’ routes aim to clean up the heaviest littered areas downtown by 9 a.m. and other areas between noon and 2 p.m.

Litter Operations staff also has 27 ‘Flying Squad Routes’ comprised of mobilized vehicles dispatched to specific littered areas for clean-ups. Improved, more effective co-ordination of litter collection services has resulted in less littered streets, which builds positive behaviour on the part of Toronto residents. Research shows that people are less likely to litter if the streets are clean. More Torontonians are putting litter in its place.

In 2006, the litter audit measured an average of 15 pieces of litter per site. This compares well to the previous findings of 20 and 21 pieces in 2005 and 2004 respectively, and to the 25 pieces of litter counted per site in the 2002 baseline audit. Following the same methodology employed in the past, on the same randomly selected sites used in previous audits, the 298 sites examined in 2006 included at least two sites per City ward.

As was the case in 2005, the most significant “material type” noted in the 2006 audit was plastic items (27 per cent of total litter counted). Paper products represented the second most observed “material type” of litter (22 per cent of large litter items counted), consistent with the 2005 findings. Annual litter audits help the City identify emerging issues and responsibilities and develop a trend analysis by which the impact of litter reduction programs can be measured.

Media contact:
Richard Butts, General Manager, Solid Waste Management Services,



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