The Provincial Day of Action on Litter is celebrated on the second Tuesday of May each year in Ontario.
The Ontario government is taking action to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills or becoming litter by bringing awareness to the impacts of waste on our environment and encouraging people to take action at home and in their community to help keep our environment clean and healthy for generations to come.
Provincial Day of Action on Litter
The next Provincial Day of Action on Litter is May 10, 2022.
There are actions we can all take to put litter in its proper place. You can do this by:
- Reducing waste: giving old products new life instead of throwing them away. For example, using old containers for storage or support second-hand clothing stores as opposed to buying new.
- Diverting waste: recycling or composting materials when and where possible to divert waste away from landfills. For example, by using your blue and green bins. When cleaning up litter, make sure you properly separate out recyclables.
- Preventing waste and litter: stopping waste before its created, and before it has the chance to become litter. For example, by choosing to buy goods with less packaging or by bringing a reusable cup to take-out establishments that accept them.
- Cleaning up litter: helping to keep your community clean by picking up and properly disposing of litter, or by organizing a community litter cleanup for others. Our Litter Cleanup Guide has more information on how to organize a safe and successful cleanup.
- Properly disposing of waste: making sure anything that does belong in the trash, is securely placed in garbage bins to help keep our neighbourhoods clean.
Why it matters
We generate nearly one tonne of waste per person every year in Ontario footnote 1. It is estimated that almost 10,000 tonnes of plastic debris enter Ontario’s lakes and rivers each year.
- almost 50% of waste is diverted through blue box or green binsfootnote 2
- 70% of general waste materials from residential, commercial and industrial locations end up in landfillsfootnote 1
- Almost one third of household waste in Ontario is compostable, but when food and organic waste breaks down in landfills it produces harmful greenhouse gases.
Ontario’s greenhouse gases from solid waste in landfills totaled 3.4 million tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2018. Waste that doesn’t get recycled or go to landfills ends up as litter in our environment, which can have a negative effect on local ecosystems.
Litter along our shorelines, in our green spaces and on our streets can spill into our waterways and break down into micro-plastics in the environment, which can hurt or even kill wildlife and damage ecosystems.
Get the Ontario Litter Clean Up Guide
footnote Back to paragraph^ Based on 2018 residential data from Residential Diversion Rate 2018, Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority, RPRA and 2016 non-residential data from Waste Management Industry Survey: Business and Government Sectors 2018, Oct. 5, 2018, Statistics Canada.
footnote Back to paragraph^ Based on 2018 residential data from Residential Diversion Rate 2018, Resource Productivity and Recovery Authority, RPRA.
footnote Back to paragraph^ Based on Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)’s National Inventory Report 1990–2018: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada Report which was submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) filed with the United Nations on April 14, 2020.
footnote Back to paragraph^ Strategy for a Waste-Free Ontario: Building the Circular Economy.