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May 1, 2003
City of Toronto launches Litter Prevention Program
  
Works and Emergency Services -- Toronto's Clean Streets Litter Prevention
Program, an initiative of the City of Toronto and a number of private sector
partners, has targeted a 50 per cent reduction of litter, the Clean Streets
Working Group announced at a media conference today.

The group announced new initiatives following three main themes: improved
collection, public awareness and enforcement. Plans for more efficient
collection include a reworking of the schedule of cleanups by the City's 145
litter pickers and 55 litter vacuums. Recognizing that overflowing litter
receptacles can become magnets for more litter, the City is adding bins in
heavy usage areas, stepping up collection frequency and launching a novel
program whereby local businesses will keep an eye on nearby bins. New
equipment will hit the street this year and litter staff will sport new bright
green uniforms, enhancing their visibility on the job.

On the educational front, a new advertising campaign will appear beginning in
June. The program's tag-line slogan "Don't Trash Toronto" will appear on all
promotional pieces.

Enforcement will increase with the addition of nine by-law enforcement
officers. A greater priority will be placed on litter ticketing including an
enforcement blitz to occur in mid-May. The littering fine is $130 per offence.
For illegal dumping, a maximum first offence fine is $12,500. The Litter
Hotline number 39-CLEAN (416-392-5326) will be promoted as the public's contact
to report litter, over-flowing receptacles and illegal dumping.

The Clean Streets Working Group, formed in January 2002, is co-chaired by
Councillors Jane Pitfield and Peter Li Preti and includes members of such
private sector organizations as the Toronto Board of Trade, the Toronto
Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), and industry
representatives. Councillor Pitfield emphasized, "We are absolutely committed
to cleaning up Toronto. Maintaining clean streets and sidewalks is important
for the health and image of our City. Our program sends a strong message --
littering will not be tolerated. Stopping litter needs to start with each one
of us. Before you throw litter, think about it and do the right thing."

The City has developed partnerships with business/industry associations, which
have broadened to include brand owners, retailers, media and entertainment
outlets. "The Toronto Board of Trade is committed to cleaning up our City,"
said Board President and CEO Elyse Allan. "Toronto's business community is
behind the Litter Prevention Program. In addition to supporting the campaign
and participating in the 'Adopt-A-Bin' program, we will continue to develop
policy solutions so that our City stays clean. We urge every business and
resident to join us in this effort to put litter in its place."

Bobby Sniderman, proprietor of the Senator Restaurant/Jazz Club, and Sam the
Record Man and member of the Marketing Committee for the Yonge-Dundas Business
Improvement Area, is the first merchant to participate in a new 'Adopt-a-Bin'
program. Sniderman has volunteered to be the eyes of his community to report
any overflow of the garbage/recycling bin situated in front of his downtown
business. He will call a dedicated line to alert the City, which has committed
to emptying the bin within two hours during peak business hours. The City
welcomes other merchants' participation in the 'Adopt-a-Bin' program.
Businesses can sign up by calling 39-CLEAN (416-392-5326).

Toronto currently deals with approximately 14 tonnes (2,800 garbage bags) of
street waste every day. If all the bags collected in one week were lined up
from end to end, they would stretch the length of the Sheppard subway line (5.5
km from Yonge St to Don Mills). This tonnage is a mix of litter picked off the
streets (approximately 40 per cent) and garbage/recycling collected from OMG
bins (approximately 60 per cent). As with all the city's garbage, litter
picked off the streets and materials placed in the garbage portion of the
garbage/recycling bins are trucked to landfills in Michigan. The City's litter
prevention program aims to redirect litter from the streets into the collection
bins so appropriate items can be recycled.

"Held in your hand, common litter such as pop cans and newspapers are actually
very valuable recyclable items. Once they hit the ground however, they're
litter, which means they're headed for the garbage," said Joe Hruska of CSR:
Corporations Supporting Recycling. "Litter costs the City money and robs us of
an opportunity to divert these valuable items from landfill. Aluminum cans and
newspapers - when placed in the recycling slots in the silver bin - in the end
generate revenue and help offset the cost of our municipal recycling program."

The City will focus its clean-up efforts on highly littered sites. A litter
audit report indicated these to be areas near outdoor parking lots, convenience
stores, schools, take-out restaurants, transit shelters and full
garbage/recycling bins. Annual litter audits and measurement of collected
litter will be used to evaluate progress towards achieving 50 per cent
reduction.

The City of Toronto spends approximately $16 million annually on managing
street waste. Ninety per cent of that is to deal with litter on the ground.
The City's revenue share from advertising placed on outdoor garbage/recycling
bins, which helps offset this expense, was approximately $500,000 in 2002.

Backgrounder

City of Toronto Litter Prevention Program Fast Facts


-- City has established a litter reduction goal of 50 per cent

-- Litter prevention program strategy is based on the three main themes, the
three Es: education, enforcement and efficient collection

-- City's litter prevention program slogan: Don't Trash Toronto

-- City has optimized its litter collection operations by:
-- Centralizing litter operations into one facility
-- Designating a manager of litter operations
-- Reallocating more manual pickers and automated coverage to main streets
-- Lengthening the afternoon shift for a longer portion of the year (now May
through to early September rather than July and August), creating a 16-hour
day, in order to better service high-litter areas

-- City is providing additional trash/litter bins (adding 1,000 more bins
during 2003) in heavy usage areas and stepping up collection frequency to
counter issue of overflowing litter receptacles becoming sources or magnets for
more litter

-- City asking the office of the Justice of the Peace to support its efforts
to reduce illegal dumping, improper waste set-out and litter by imposing
punitive fines upon conviction

-- Littering fines are $105 plus a $25 surcharge (for a total of $130)

-- For illegal dumping, a maximum first offence fine is $10,000 plus a 25 per
cent surcharge (for a total of $12,500) and $25,000 plus surcharge for any
subsequent offence

-- The Litter Hotline number 39-CLEAN (416-392-5326) continues to serve as the
public's contact to report litter, over-flowing receptacles and illegal dumping

-- City introduces an 'Adopt-a Bin' program, whereby merchants act as the eyes
in the community and call a designated phone number to report a full OMG
trash/recycling bin situated near their business. The City commits to providing
collection service within two hours during peak business hours. Businesses
wishing to participate should call 39-CLEAN.

-- Research (telephone survey conducted in March 2003) results indicate:
-- Nearly 45 per cent (almost half) of all residents littered in the past
month
-- Roughly 1/4 of those who littered disposed of six or more items
-- Young people between the ages of 15-24 are most likely to litter and only
half of them consider it to be a serious offence
-- Eighty-five per cent of those aged 65 or older consider littering to be a
serious offence

The City has:
-- 145 litter pickers
-- 38 By-law officers
-- 55 litter vacuums
-- two lane-way sweepers
-- two Green Machines (hand-held sweeper ground cleaner)
-- two power washers

Methods of collection include: (Collection coverage is 7 days/week, beginning
at 3 a.m.)
-- Manual (employee with bag and broom)
-- OMG bins (approx. 4,000 installed/collected 7-days/week)
-- Automated (litter vacuums, sweepers, Green Machines)
-- Fly squads (crews in pick-up trucks service high traffic or remote areas,
handle complaints and collect bulky items)

-- There are 63 automated litter beats -- each covers an average area
totalling 20 km, and 65 walking beats (manual litter collection) that each
cover a 5-8 km area

-- Mini-sweepers are used for boulevards, underpasses and lane-ways

-- Previous litter audit reports indicate high litter areas are adjacent to
outdoor parking lots, convenience stores, schools, take-out restaurants,
transit shelters, as well as full garbage/recycling bins

-- Five major categories of litter, comprising 90 per cent of the litter
identified in the audit conducted in 2001, are newspapers, inserts and flyers;
beverage containers; confectionery packaging (chip bags, candy wrappers); quick
service packaging items (coffee and fast food); and tobacco packaging

-- The City is targeting items tossed on the street as litter because 90 per
cent of the City's costs involve removing litter left on the ground

-- City of Toronto collects approximately 14 tonnes (2,800 garbage bags) of
street waste daily. This is a mixture of litter picked off the street
(approximately 40 per cent) and garbage and recyclables collected from OMG bins
(approximately 60 per cent). The bins contain a 50/50 split of garbage and
recyclables (paper products, aluminum cans, plastic and glass containers, etc.)
- City's litter prevention program aims to redirect litter off the streets and
into the collection bins so appropriate items can be recycled.

-- City of Toronto spends approximately $16M annually managing street waste
($10M - Solid Waste Management Services Division; $6 M Transportation Services
and Parks & Recreation Division)

-- Parks and Recreation Division is responsible for servicing litter
receptacles located on City maintained green spaces

-- Transportation Services Division is responsible for street cleaning (uses
large sweepers and flushers)


Media Contact
Councillor Jane Pitfield, 416-392-0215 or Geoff Rathbone, 416-392-4715

 

 

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