What is litter?
Whenever waste is not properly disposed of, it is considered litter. Litter comes in all shapes and sizes and it can be found anywhere. It includes everything from a wrapper, a piece of paper, bag of garbage or even a cigarette butt.
Why do people litter?
- Social Attitudes (littering is not as socially unacceptable as it should be!)
- No perceived consequences
- No waste container nearby
- Complacency/ laziness
- No sense of pride in the community
- Not enough litter awareness
LitterBugs can be found among people of every age, gender, race and geographic location, at every level of society.
- A cigarette butt takes 15 years to decompose. Please put your cigarette butts in an ashtray or a butt stop. Cigarettes are litter and do not belong on the ground.
- Every year, Canadian smokers toss away nearly 8,000 tonnes of butts.
- Cigarette butts have been found in the stomachs of birds, dogs, cats, and squirrels.
- Styrofoam cups and containers take up to 1 million years to decompose and cannot be recycled.
- Plastic pop, water and juice bottles also take up to 1 million years to decompose but they can be recycled!
- Please dispose of cigarette butts and litter properly!
Proper disposal is important! It is your responsibility!
We all need to generate less waste. That's the first step in reducing what goes to Ottawa's landfills. The next is to reuse and recycle more often. The following list describes decomposition times in a landfill and the proper disposal methods:
- Newspapers - 6 weeks = Recycle (Black Box)
- Cardboard box - 2 months = Recycle (Black Box)
- Banana peel - 2 years = Compost (or put it in your Green Bin)
- Cigarette butt - up to 15 years = Garbage
- Plastic grocery bags - 100 years = Reuse or Take it Back!
- Aluminium can - 200 to 500 years = Recycle (Blue Box)
- Disposable diaper - 450 years = Garbage
- Styrofoam cup - up to 1 million years = Garbage
- Plastic bottle - up to 1 million years = Recycle (Blue Box)
- Glass bottle - 1 million years + = Recycle (Blue Box)
Empty LCBO wine, beer and spirit containers (glass, Tetra, plastic and Bag in a Box) can now be returned to The Beer Store for a refund. For your closest return location visit www.bagitback.ca.
Why Should Business or Property Owners Care?
A dirty property attracts insects, rodents, and disease. It is also hazardous for small children, pets as well as customers!
It’s the law! Owners of private properties such as malls, homes, businesses and vacant lots, that have been identified as having a litter or illegal dumping issue are approached by By-law staff and given an opportunity to clean it up. If they do not, the City of Ottawa, under the Property Maintenance By-Law (By-law No. 2005-208) may do the clean up and charge the owner with the costs.
The last resort may come to laying charges. Under the Use and Care of Roads By-Law (By-law No.2003-498), the Parks and Facilities By-Law (By-law No. 2004-276) and the Property Standards By-Law (By-Law No. 2013-416) owners of private property, school boards, malls etc can be charged.