Litter Prevention & Management

Litter PreventionAs part of our commitment to environmental sustainability, CPIA is dedicated to eradicating litter in its many forms.

Our goals are to provide options for and promote behaviours that ensure all packaging materials including plastics, are managed sustainably using the 5R's hierarchy.

For CPIA, the presence of any plastics litter is unacceptable and we continue to operate and provide support for programs designed to change behaviours that contribute to all types of litter across the country.  

We are a proud supporter of local, national and global initiatives to prevent, manage and eliminate litter. Find out more about our commitments to:

What is Litter?

Litter is any product or material left inappropriately on our highways, parks, beaches or streets that simply doesn't belong there. It is unsightly and potentially dangerous to people and wildlife and it can be costly to manage and difficult to control. In short, there’s no such thing as good litter. Here are the top three issues that we all need to be concerned about:

Litter is not safe

Broken glass, other sharps and germ-ridden waste materials can be harmful to humans and to pets and wildlife and even to ecosystems and natural features. Items that are inconsequential to humans can pose a threat to wildlife that may not stay away from materials that can harm them.

Litter is unsightly

Let’s face it – litter isn’t pretty. Anybody who has passed litter on a camping trip or a walk down their street knows it diminishes the beauty of natural settings, streetscapes, parks, marine sites and anywhere it crops up. And, as much as it limits our appreciation of outdoor settings it also reduces enjoyment for visitors to Canada and can have negative economic impacts on tourism and associated businesses. Every single piece of litter sets off a chain reaction that’s much easier to prevent than reverse.

Litter is wasteful; managing it is expensive

Litter can also result in added municipal clean up costs, health costs, agriculture management and more. That’s on top of the missed opportunities from losing resources that could easily be recycled to create new products and packaging. The cost impacts of litter touch widespread segments of Canadian society and CPIA is fully committed to helping eradicate them.

Fast Facts on Litter Reduction

  1. Many communities across Canada are applying local solutions to eliminate litter. Hosting clean-up events, using promotion and education to prevent litter and hosting challenges to clean-up neighbourhoods – Canadians are seeking solutions to prevent and clean-up litter. 
  2. Litter is not new and it’s not localized in a few communities. CPIA is a proud sponsor of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup that has mobilized tens of thousands of Canadians to clean up well over 1 million kilograms of litter from the shores of lakes, rivers, ponds and oceans. Find out more about marine litter clean up activities.
  3. Canadian cities have studied litter to find out where it comes from, how big the problem is and how to prevent it. The good news is there seems to be a slight downward trend in litter and littering.
  4. International organizations and industry groups are working to manage litter issues worldwide. CPIA works with and supports organizations promoting environmental stewardship of plastic products and packaging. For example, CPIA is a long time supporter of marine litter reduction initiatives such as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and through work with Marine Litter Solutions.
  5. A 2009 survey revealed that one out of three Canadians have littered and as many as four percent may litter every day. In general, Canadians will walk about 12 steps to find a waste receptacle before giving up. In response, communities are offering more convenient disposal options and it’s becoming easier than ever to bring used items home to recycle properly.