cigarette butts toronto

Toronto might make restaurants and bars clean up cigarette butts

One of Toronto's ugliest perennial nuisances will be the subject of debate at City Hall on Wednesday, when councillor discuss all of the cigarette butts that recently emerged from melted snow.

A member's motion called "Keeping our Streets Clean from Cigarette Butt Litter," put forth by Councillor Ana Bailão and seconded by Mike Layton, proposes that individual business owners start to tackle the problem as a condition of being licenced.

"The issue of cigarette butt litter in front of businesses including bars, restaurants and other establishments is becoming an increasingly problematic issue," reads the motion. "This issue is compounded when the snow melts and the accumulated litter is exposed, resulting in an unsightly streetscape."

The motion asserts that Toronto's not-so-little cigarette problem is only growing worse as patrons continue to smoke outdoors and flick their butts wherever they please—especially during colder months when no one can see the ground.

Not only does the practice make for gross streets come springtime, it's bad for the environment. Cigarette filters can take up to 12 years to break down thanks to the cellulose acetate in their filters. Many end up in Lake Ontario, according to the city, polluting our environment with toxic chemicals.

Bailão's plan addresses the issue with a two-pronged approach. If passed, business owners would one day be required "to ensure that cigarette butt litter is removed from in front of their premises as a condition of the issuance of a business licence."

New regulations would also require business operators to install and maintain "cigarette butt litter receptacles" in front of restaurants, bars and other establishments.

At this point, Bailão is only asking that the issue be reviewed by the city's Executive Director of Municipal Licensing and Standards, who would report back on how feasible such regulations would be by the end of 2019.

Even if unanimously approved and sped along, however, the rules won't be in place this year—so do as the city asks and please stop aimlessly tossing your butts. It's littering.

Lead photo by

Kingdom Property Maintenance


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