Clean Up Australia Day focus on fast food restaurants in Toronto

LOCAL fast food restaurants have been praised for their increasing role in litter reduction, while more teens and tradies have been urged to lift their games.

BIN THERE: Stephen Dewar at McDonald's Toronto, one of several local fast food restaurants that will display anti-littering signs on Sunday. "I'm thankful they're all giving us a go," he said. Picture: David Stewart

BIN THERE: Stephen Dewar at McDonald's Toronto, one of several local fast food restaurants that will display anti-littering signs on Sunday. "I'm thankful they're all giving us a go," he said. Picture: David Stewart

This Sunday, March 6, is Clean Up Australia Day, and in Toronto the focus is on fast food outlets.

Stephen Dewar of Toronto Area Sustainable Neighbourhood Group (TASNG) said most of Lake Macquarie was experiencing a “fast food littering crisis”.

Fast food packaging was increasingly being discarded from vehicles, often on streets close to the source, Mr Dewar said.

“It’s become a real habit in the last four years,” he said.

“There’s a lot more drive-throughs now. It seems people drive in, pick up their food, and then a kilometre north or south of the restaurant you’ll see the rubbish on the side of the road.”

Anecdotally, teenagers in P-plated vehicles were often considered the usual suspects, Mr Dewar said.

“And I think there’s now a lot more tradies who might have 20 minutes for lunch on their way to the next job, so they go to a  drive-through, too,” he said.

“I don’t want to denigrate young people or tradies, but we want everybody to think about keeping the bag that the food comes in, and putting all of their [rubbish] in that bag and taking it home with them,” he said.

On Sunday, TASNG will host an event at McDonald’s Toronto from 9am to highlight the problem. Local MPs Greg Piper and Pat Conroy will talk about the littering problem.

Mr Dewar said the idea was to change the behaviour of those who don’t give littering a second thought.

TASNG had success with its ‘Tossers Can Be Binners’ campaign in the Toronto CBD. Mr Dewar said the group now hoped to duplicate that result among fast food restaurant customers.

Fast food franchises, such as McDonald’s, were now doing their bit to reduce litter – but could do more to facilitate recycling, he said.

On Sunday, local McDonald’s, Domino’s, Subway, Pizza Hut, and Michel’s franchises will display signs encouraging customers to do the right thing.

  • Clean Up sites, page 5.

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