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Toronto wants cigarette companies to cover litter costs

The City of Toronto is asking the Ontario government to consider making cigarette companies financially responsible for the age-old problem of cigarette butt street litter. 


The City of Toronto is asking the Ontario government to consider making cigarette companies financially responsible for the age-old problem of cigarette butt street litter. 

The City’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee will examine the issue on April 9, 2014, when it considers a number of ideas from city staff. 

Jim Harnum, Toronto’s general manager of Solid Waste Management Services, wrote to the Ministry of Environment on March 6, 2014. 

 “[…] We ask that you consider under the Waste Diversion Act, 2002, or any other related legislation, the introduction of steward fees for cigarette producers/manufacturers/first importers to cover the cost of cigarette butt management, including public education, signage, cleanup and disposal,” wrote Harnum. 

Despite Toronto’s 6,000 litter and recycling bins having dedicated receptacles to capture cigarette butts, they remain the largest culprit in Toronto’s small litter category. Butts currently comprise 31 per cent of the load, a number that has doubled. Toronto is actually considering doubling the number of waste bins over the next 14 years, too. 

Toronto has been running a pilot project that uses decals to highlight cigarette receptacle slots. The decal was placed on 200 street litter bins in three business improvement areas, including the Financial District, Kensington Market and the Entertainment District. The audit will be completed in the spring when pedestrian traffic increases, the staff report says. 

Littering in Toronto carries a fine of up to $365.


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