Toronto’s annual spring cleanup returns after a 2-year pause due to COVID-19

Apr 19, 2022 | News

The city of Toronto’s annual spring cleanup is coming back for three days, starting on Earth Day, April 22, and running all weekend.

This will be the 17th year for the Clean Toronto Together event, which was paused for two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s the largest municipal-run cleanup event in Canada.

“The purpose of the cleanup is to bring everyone together, residents, business, school and City staff, and give back to our amazing parks and other public spaces that have given us so much, especially over the past two years,” Jeff McCormick told to Humber News.

McCormick is the Senior Environmental Planner at the City of Toronto Environment and Energy Division.

“Keeping our city clean is important and easy! We can all do our part to keep litter in its place, all day every day,” he added.

Top litter items in Toronto are “gum, cigarette butts, personal protective equipment, paper towels and napkins,” the 2020 Litter Audit reported.

The Audit also reported that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the city has been seeing a spike in face mask littering

The City is encouraging groups and individuals to identify and help locations that need support.

While registrations for new cleanup locations closed on April 18, McCormick said volunteers are welcome to help at any cleanup location near them.

The city has 945 sites planned and is expecting more than 40-thousand residents to take part.

“We encourage everyone to do their part to keep Toronto clean and green. You don’t need to register, please visit your local park and spend twenty minutes removing litter! If we all give a little bit of time, we can make a big difference,” McCormick said.

The City of Toronto Clean Toronto Together page posted updates on the event for the attendees.

  • There are no more free litter bags. The City has allocated our limited supply to support resident-led cleanups.
  • Participants are encouraged to bring/reuse their own plastic bags to collect litter and recycling.
  • Safety tips and COVID-19 guidance will be provided to all registered participants.

The website also offered Recycling Tips for the right way to clean up waste.

  • Only put clean recycling in the blue bags, such as empty plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
  • Place dirty recyclables, wet papers, and metal in the litter bag.
  • Recyclables collected in a City park should be placed in or beside the large City blue bins in the park.
  • Check the Waste Wizard or download TOwaste App on your smartphone to find out what can and cannot be recycled.

The city added that the 2022 Clean Toronto Together event is supported by GLAD, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Toronto District School Board.

“When we’re out and about, we should all use the City’s streets and park litter and recycling bins. There is no reason to litter,” McCormick said.

“If you see a really big litter challenge, please contact 311,” he added.