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Litter Affects Us All

Hefty Fines, Yet Litter is a Problem

Despite living in the 21st century and having a modernized society, the way we deal with trash hasn’t advanced to the level we might think. Litter and plastic pollution affect us all. No one likes to see garbage while walking on some of our city pathways. Despite hefty fines litter is still a real problem in our area. For example, litter bugs in Guelph can face a fine between $150 – $450 depending on where the offence takes place. In Waterloo, Judges can decide on fines from $150 to $5000 depending on what is discarded and how much. Some of the areas side streets and rural areas have been locations for illegal dumping. A practice made more common since the regions one-week-on one-week-off garbage collection began.

Littering VS Illegal Dumping

The difference between littering and illegal dumping is often defined by the material left behind. Throwing clean household items, wrappers, bottles, and food where it doesn’t belong counts as littering. Improperly disposing of hazardous waste, yard waste, rotting organics and unsorted garbage on a secluded roadside counts as dumping. City fines and interpretations between the two crimes vary. So, if you are a litter bug, beware! Since COVID-19 restrictions have eased, many cities are cracking down on littering and dumping.

COVID-19 and Food-Related Litter

Did you know COVID-19 may be the cause of more food related litter in our cities than ever before? CTV News reported that “Restaurants’ inability to offer their usual dine-in service during much of 2020-2022 may explain why an unusually high amount of food-related litter was found across the country.” During an annual shoreline clean up, one group reported a 50% increase of food related garbage compared to other forms of litter. This same group reported that cigarette related litter made up 29% of all the garbage they collected including 83,000 cigarette butts!

Blue Box Program Under-Performing

Recently, local environmentalists have been exposing the Ontario Government for not following through on its efforts to revamp their blue box program. The proposal included making one use plastic producers responsible for the 300-million-dollar cost of the recycling program, in hopes they would provide better solutions. However as mentioned by Environmental Defence the Government left too many loopholes allowing one use plastics to continue flowing into Ontario. The article also offered a possible solution pointing to the LCBO and Beer Stores “very successful deposit-return system.”

Maintain a Positive Attitude

According to Environmental Defence Only 55% of PET plastic and 3% of other types placed in blue boxes was even sent to recycling plants. Maybe part of the problem is related to how people feel after learning that all their efforts to recycle responsibly, doesn’t matter as much as they thought. Ultimately our governments make decisions on how to handle the waste we produce in Ontario. However, if we want things to improve, we must all maintain a positive attitude about protecting our environment. A good step forward includes just being aware of the issues surrounding waste management.

Put Waste in its Place!

Acorn Waste Service thanks you for your efforts not to litter, and you’re taking the time to read this post. Litter affects us all, but together we can put waste in its place, and work hard to reduce what goes to landfills. Learn about our food waste program and other services that help keep our neighbourhoods clean.