Nfld. & Labrador

Mount Pearl waging war on trash from businesses

The City of Mount Pearl is waging its own war on litter by holding businesses accountable for all the trash around their buildings.

Cleaning up after customers 'cost of doing business' says Randy Simms

Mount Pearl's mayor, Randy Simms, says businesses need to take responsibility for litter. (CBC)

The mayor of Mount Pearl says businesses should be doing more to keep the city clean and has proposed a by-law change to make that happen.

"We've noticed over the last year or so that an awful lot of garbage receptacles disappeared — nowhere is it more evident than going through drive-thrus … they all face the same problem," Randy Simms told CBC's St. John's Morning Show.

"Our concern is that, that garbage doesn't stay in the car, that garbage goes out a window, that garbage goes somewhere else and it simply adds to the mess in the community that we are frantically fighting to bring an end to."

Sure sign of spring

Mount Pearl has proposed by-law changes to curb littering in the city. (CBC)

Simms said every year melting snow reveals a "tremendous amount of litter" scattered around, and is particularly notorious in business areas.

'If we're going to have a war on litter, we need every soldier our there in the field, and the commercial community is one of those soldiers.' - Randy Simms

The city has proposed a change to its litter by-law that would make stores, restaurants and all commercial buildings responsible for installing outside garbage cans.

He said if the by-law is passed, businesses will also be required to empty the cans.

"I mean lets be honest, it's labour intensive, you have to clean them, you have to take the garbage out of them," said Simms.

"We believe that, that merely should represent a cost of doing business in the community."

Trash enforcement

Randy Simms said litter is a problem at businesses in Mount Pearl, partially because garbage cans have been removed. (Cecil Haire/CBC)

The city's municipal enforcement will have the authority to issue tickets and fine companies that do not keep their property clean.

Simms said while education continues around littering, changing human behaviour is difficult.

"We have all kinds of anti-litter laws out there that we try and enforce but you have to catch people in the act," he said.

"If there are more garbage containers, more opportunities to do the right thing … most people will take the time to do that but when it's not readily available, then I do believe that like water it seeks the avenue of least resistance, how do I get this out of my environment, and they end up throwing it into someone else's."

Added effort

Mount Pearl uses robotic arms to collect trash, and says it means less garbage blowing around. (CBC)

The city has crews assigned to conduct a daily cleanup, said Simms, and green teams are hired every spring.

He added that citizens are doing their part with the new robotic garbage collection and the city is also promising to put more garbage cans on its property.

"If we're going to have a war on litter, we need every soldier our there in the field, and the commercial community is one of those soldiers." 

With files from the St. John's Morning Show