Funding Innovative Approaches for Litter Reduction

Funding Recipients
Subway drive-thru with garbage bin

As a leader in waste management and environmental sustainability in Nova Scotia, Divert NS has committed to funding litter intervention projects to implement and test litter reduction strategies across the province. These projects are informed by insights and recommendations from the Divert NS’ Litter Behaviour Research study, with the goal of sharing findings and supporting municipalities and waste authorities to reduce litter in Nova Scotia.

One of the first interventions Divert NS funded was a restaurant drive-thru initiative carried out by Waste Check from June to July 2023. In order to reduce litter and make it easier for people to dispose of their waste responsibly, waste bins were installed in the drive-thru areas of three fast-food restaurants­—Robin’s Donuts in Saulnierville, Subway in Yarmouth, and Tim Horton’s in Digby.

Follow-up visits by Waste Check revealed that the bins have been used effectively with no signs of litter in the surrounding area. Management at each location reported no issues and expressed satisfaction. According to Amy Hillyard, Waste Reduction Coordinator at Waste Check, “having the drive-thru bins in place at these locations resulted in positive feedback from customers and the establishments, and reduced litter. When customers are taking pictures of the bins and posting about how great it is to have somewhere to throw their trash, it makes it all worthwhile.” 

After the successful implementation of the drive-thru intervention, Divert NS funded Waste Check for a second, more ambitious project in the busy Digby Area Recreation Facility. This intervention is ongoing and aims to raise awareness about the importance of waste sorting, litter reduction in spectator areas, and improving proper waste separation. To achieve this, Waste Check installed three 4-Stream Easy Sorter systems with trays on wheels for easy relocation around the arena to accommodate different events. “The Digby arena is a busy facility that is used all year long,” says Hillyard, “So improving waste separation by placing new sorting stations and new signage will encourage users to put waste in its place.”

However, the intervention went beyond just installing sorting systems. To bring attention to the sorting stations and raise awareness about littering, Waste Check strategically placed green footprint ‘nudges’ on the floor throughout the arena. These visual cues help guide patrons to the sorting stations. Additionally, litter messaging placed as stickers on stairs and the rink boards serve as a constant reminder to patrons not to litter.

The intervention also features decals over the sorting station and bin liners to make the waste sorting stations more user-friendly and visually appealing. A banner was placed in the lobby of the arena to make spectators aware of the source separation containers and to encourage proper waste sorting. The Digby Arena intervention is expected to contribute significantly to the area's litter reduction efforts.

These interventions have shown promising results and highlight their importance in promoting environmental sustainability. Divert NS hopes that they will inspire similar initiatives across the province.