Litter

A discarded plastic bottle lays on a rocky shoreline

Let’s work together to make Peterborough litter-free.

Keeping our streets, sidewalks, and green spaces safe and clean for everyone to enjoy is our priority. Litter looks bad, is harmful to the environment and animals, and is expensive to clean up. Help keep our streets, sidewalks, trails, parks and green spaces clean by properly disposing of waste. Reducing litter protects local ecosystems, wildlife and our drinking water.

In June 2023, City Council approved a pilot Litter Action Plan (Report COU23-006) to protect our waterways, greenspaces and public spaces from trash, litter and hazardous waste.

City litter operations

Each year, the City invests in waste clean-up operations in our parks, greenspaces and streets:

  • The City maintains 354 garbage receptacles and 215 recycling receptacles in City parks and trails year-round. More bins are added to our parks in the summer, when seasonal staff join the team.
  • In 2022, the City spent $394,681 on parks garbage pickup, as well as litter collection in parks, greenspaces and on streets.
  • We provide enhanced waste receptacle services – more garbage cans, more frequent collection – in the downtown through a partnership with a Downtown Business Improvement Area.
Effects of litter
  • Litter damages the environment: as discarded items break down or decompose, they can leach chemicals that pollute the soil and water. Litter can block stormwater drains, and often enters local waterways. Many items, including microplastics and cigarette butts, will stay in our ecosystems for years.
  • Litter harms pets and wildlife: animals may eat discarded objects or food debris, which can cause organ damage and even death.
  • Litter is unsightly to residents, visitors and businesses in our community, with potential negative impacts on economic activity like shopping and tourism. Long-term impacts may deter economic investment from new business.
How you can help reduce litter

Keeping Peterborough litter-free is a shared responsibility. Small actions can have big impacts on our community.

  • When you’re out, place your waste in the nearest garbage or recycling receptacle.
  • Prevent curbside garbage and recycling from becoming litter in inclement weather. Make sure recyclables stay in blue bins on windy days by placing heavier items on top of lighter items, stacking blue boxes, and placing paper sideways or tying paper products in bundles
  • If you smoke, fully extinguish your cigarette butt and place it in a garbage bin, ashtray, or pocket ashtray. 
  • Organizing a picnic or gathering in a City park? Plan ahead and bring food in reusable containers that you can pack out when you leave. Put any waste into garbage and recycling bins, or bring an extra bag so that you can take your waste out with you, and sort into garbage and recycling once you get home. Thank you for doing your part to keep our parks beautiful and enjoyable for everyone.

If you find a needle that has not been properly disposed of in a City park, or on a trail, sidewalk or road, please call Public Works at 705-745-1386. Peterborough Public Health provides advice for disposing of needles on private property on their Found Needles page.

Organize a litter clean-up event

Get involved and join your neighbours and friends to help keep Peterborough litter-free. Let’s work together to clear garbage and recycling ensure our neighbourhoods, local parks, green spaces, and trails are beautiful and safe for everyone to enjoy.

When we all pitch in together, we can make a big difference!

How the City helps

Let us know about your event, and our Public Works team will provide you with nitrile gloves, bags and arrange a pickup location to collect waste after your event. 

Request a litter clean-up kit

The City provides information to event organizers to help support a safe event.

Celebrate your success & inspire others to take action: share photos of your litter cleanup event on social media, and tag the City’s accounts and use the hashtag #PtboLitterAction. We’ll help spread the word!

People on a beach picking up litter

Provincial Day of Action on Litter

The Provincial Day of Action on Litter is celebrated on the second Tuesday of May each year in Ontario.

The Province of Ontario 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. Learn more about the Provincial Day of Action on Litter.