Friday, April 4, 2014

Toronto wants to lessen the cigarette butt litter

TORONTO - The city has asked the province to ding cigarette manufacturers to cover the cost of cleaning up butts.

A report going to the city’s public works committee next week outlines the city’s ongoing “Strategy to Reduce Litter and Cigarette Butt Litter.”

Cigarette butts may be little but they’re a big problem for the city. A 2012 litter audit found cigarette butts made up the largest single component (around 31%) of small litter on city streets.

Jim Harnum, the city’s general manager of Solid Waste Management Services, wrote to Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley with a formal request for the province to consider slapping a fee on cigarette manufacturers to help cover the costs of cleaning up the butts.

“The letter requests the Province to give consideration to implementing a fee for cigarette manufacturers to help offset the costs incurred by the City for the cleanup of cigarette butt litter including costs of emptying cigarette butt receptacles in street litter bins,” the staff report states. “Collected fees could also be used to cover costs of public anti-littering education campaigns, signage in public spaces, cleanup and disposal of this waste material.”

Public works chairman Denzil Minnan-Wong wouldn’t weigh in on whether a fee should be imposed on cigarette manufacturers.

“I think that the public should make more of an effort, those smokers should make more of an effort, not to put butts on the street,” Minnan-Wong said.

The city is also running a cigarette butt receptacle decal pilot program.

Stickers have been placed on 200 garbage bins in the Financial District, Kensington Market and the Entertainment District to draw attention to the cigarette butt receptacle.

An audit is expected to be conducted in the spring to determine whether the stickers are effective.
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