News / Toronto

Guerilla garbage stickers remind Torontonians to recycle

The stickers change the word "litter" on municipal garbage bins to "landfill." It's a reminder to think twice before throwing out items that could be recycled.

Can you spot the difference? Two Toronto environmentalists are adding “landfill” stickers to municipal garbage bins to remind residents where their trash goes.

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Can you spot the difference? Two Toronto environmentalists are adding “landfill” stickers to municipal garbage bins to remind residents where their trash goes.

Two Toronto environmentalists are using guerrilla signage to remind people to recycle.

Jonathan Silver and Michael Stulberg are printing “landfill” stickers designed to replace the litter signs on city-owned garbage bins. The stickers show an overflowing garbage dump complete with roaming birds.

Even the typeface is similar to the city’s official signage.

“It’s about closing the experiential gap,” Silver said. “Currently, it’s hard for people to see the results of their actions. We want to remind them that when they put items into the litter slot, their litter is going to the landfill forever.”

The two printed a small run of the stickers last year, but now they’re turning to crowdfunding to scale their operation up. They’re looking to raise $500 on Indiegogo to print and distribute 1,000 stickers.

Waste diversion continues to be an issue in Toronto, with the municipal landfill expected to reach capacity by 2029. To extend the life of the dump, the city is aiming to divert 70 per cent of local waste.

Currently, only about 50 per cent of Toronto waste is recycled or reused.

City spokeswoman Pat Barrett told Metro the city is aware of the stickers but does not support them.

“Putting stickers on the bins is breaking a municipal bylaw,” she said. “Placing any poster or sign other than a community poster on public property or in any place other than the permitted kiosks will not be permitted.”

Barrett said the city is keen to divert more waste, and is willing to work with community partners provided they uphold the law and use “appropriate images.”

Silver said he’s not necessarily encouraging people to break city bylaws.

“We’re just giving the stickers to people. They can do with them what they wish,” he said. “They fit the city’s bins, but you could also use them on private bins.”