You know throwing an empty soda bottle on the ground is littering, but for some reason many people still don’t seem to think twice about tossing a cigarette butt and leaving it.
askHRgreen.org wants to change that around Hampton Roads with a grant-funded summer program in conjunction with Keep America Beautiful. In fact, they want to cut cigarette butt litter by half and hope to eventually get rid of it altogether. The theme is “Cigarette butts = litter.”
“Cigarette butt litter has been documented as the most frequently littered item of waste in the United States, and Hampton Roads is no different,” said John Deuel, the project leader of the grant program. “In a pre-scan of the project sites, volunteers found 3,223 cigarette butts and plastic cigar tips. If this amount of cigarette butt litter is happening in just these seven locations, imagine how much litter we’re dealing with throughout the region.”
As part of the $12,500 grant, Keep America Beautiful has provided 35 new free-standing and wall mounted cigarette butt receptacles to be placed in strategic site locations around the following Hampton Roads locations:
- Hampton – Buckroe Beach
- James City County – Commuter parking off Interstate 64 at Croaker Road
- Newport News – Hilton Village at Warwick Blvd. and Main St.
- Norfolk – City Hall Plaza
- Portsmouth – nTelos Pavilion
- Suffolk – Downtown in the Main Street area
- Virginia Beach – Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Area, off North Hampton Blvd.
4,000 hand-held pocket ashtrays and 1,000 portable auto ashtrays to be distributed to adult smokers as well. Receptacles and education outreach will go on for the next few weeks.
Here’s how you can help!
- Smokers can identify a cigarette butt receptacle before lighting up, carry a pocket ashtray, and never throw butts out of car windows
- Businesses can provide receptacles outside their buildings, educate employees about their responsibility for a clean and safe working environment and participate in an “adopt-a-spot” program to clean up public places
- Community Members can implement their own Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Littler Prevention Program. For info go to www.preventcigarettelittler.com
- Recycling Butts? Yes You Can! TerraCycle, working with the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, turns cigarette waste into industrial products such as plastic pallets. They accept butts, filters, loose tobacco pouches, outer plastic packaging, inner foil packaging, rolling paper and ash. Collect the debris in a plastic bag and ship to the company for recycling. For every pound of waste collected, Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company donates $1 toward the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Littler Prevention Program. Details at www.terracycle.com
- Get Involved Join the #NoCigaretteLitterNow conversation on social media. Tweet us at @HRGreen and let us know how you are helping to spread the “Cigarette Butts = Litter” message.
askHRgreen.org is your go-to resource for all things green in Hampton Roads— from recycling tips and pointers for keeping local waterways clean to water-saving ideas and simple steps to make local living easy on the environment. Launched in 2011, the region-wide public awareness and education campaign is administered through the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission and powered by the following members: The cities of Chesapeake, Franklin, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Smithfield, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg; the counties of Gloucester, Isle of Wight, James City, Southampton, Surry and York; and HRSD. Like askHRgreen.org on facebook, follow on Twitter, tune in to YouTube and catch the “Let’s Talk Green” blog, written by a team of local experts
About Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With a network of more than 1,200 affiliate and participating organizations including state recycling organizations, they work with millions of volunteers to take action in their communities. Keep America Beautiful offers solutions that create clean, beautiful public places, reduce waste and increase recycling, generate positive impact on local economies and inspire generations of environmental stewards. Through their programs and public-private partnerships, they engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment. For more information, visit kab.org or follow them at @kabtweet on Twitter.