Garbage & Recycling

Litter bin in street with fast cars behind it


A clean, unlittered green public space, sidewalk or street is a beautiful thing for all. Therefore, it's everyone's responsibility to make sure our city's public spaces stay that way. Please do your part.

Make a commitment to not litter. The results will be obvious.

Cigarette butts are litter too!


Cigarette butts are small, but no butts about it, they are litter.


Cigarette butts make up a large part of Toronto's litter and can take up to 12 years to break down.


The Astral street litter/recycling bins have a special receptacle designated for cigarette butt disposal.


 Smokers alert!

Warning from Toronto Fire Services

Never put cigarette butts in garden planters because this can quickly lead to fires

Please use the cigarette butt receptacles located in each of the street litter/recycling bins. These bins have a place for everything, including your garbage and recyclable items.

These sleek silver or black litter/recycling bins, as well as the foot-pedal bins, supplied by Astral Media Outdoor, are part of Toronto's co-ordinated street furniture program. The bins are designed to reduce litter and increase recycling in public areas.

2016 parks bin survey rank bins high.

People do see them, like them and use them.

Survey results.

Keeping our parks clean is important too!

Littering and Dumping of Refuse By-law

The City has a By-law regarding littering and dumping of refuse.

In September 2016, the City of Toronto contracted AET Group Inc. (AET) to conduct a city-wide litter audit to assess the composition and amount of litter on City streets. Both large (four square inches or more) and small (less than four square inches) pieces of litter were studied within the 300 sites previously established in past city-wide litter audits. The methodology used was consistent with past years and again the type, brand and size of the litter was recorded.

2016 audit results:

  • Total number of large litter items increased slightly (approx. 14%) from 2014, but compared to results from 2002 litter audit done, the average amount of large litter decreased by approx. 49%.
  • Non-branded paper towels/napkins was most commonly found large litter item (same as in 2014 audit).
  • Total number of small litter items increased slightly (approx. 15%) from 2014.
  • As seen in past litter audits, most commonly found small litter is gum (approx. 25% of all small litter audited), followed by cigarette butts (approx. 22%).

Details, including information on the measurement of branded litter, is provided in the full report "2016 Toronto Litter Audit."

The City had previously conducted citywide litter audits in 2014, 2012, 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2002 using the same methodology, which allowed comparison of each audit's results (see previous litter audit reports below).

Top Litter Tips

Put cigarettes butts in the receptaclePop it in the binRoll up to the bin and toss it inRecycle newspapers

Help end cigarette butts on Toronto's streets

Recycle your pop cans

Coffee on the go? Make sure your cup ends up in the "litter" section of the bin

The real news is recycling our newspapers!

Dial "L" for litterGum shoe bluesFast food = fast litterTalking trash is okay

Program your cell's speed dial to 311 to report litter hot spots

Aim for the bin, not the sidewalk

Put the brakes on fast food litter

Remind family, friends, kids and colleagues not to litter