Cigarette butts are the most littered item in America.
Research shows that individuals who would never consider littering an aluminum can, a piece of paper or other items may be littering cigarette butts. They may be surprised to be called litterers. But dropping partially-smoked cigarettes, cigarette butts, matches, lighters and packaging to the ground is littering. These items become litter when not disposed of properly. Cigarette litter is an emerging litter problem in communities around the country. Lack of awareness, lack of ash receptacles, and the increase of outdoor smoking add to the visible impact of cigarette litter.
Research shows that smokers will litter cigarette butts, lighters, matches and packaging material if an ash receptacle is not readily available. Cigarette litter occurs most often at Transition Points. Transition Points are those places where a person must discontinue smoking before proceeding. A bus stop, a store entrance, building loading docks, walkways leading to government buildings and similar places are the Transition Points in a neighborhood.
As part of ongoing efforts to reduce cigarette litter, Keep Ohio Beautiful has received Cigarette Litter Prevention grant funding from Keep America Beautiful and has partnered with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to install cigarette ash receptacles at specific transition points at State Parks and Marinas along Lake Erie, leading to an overall, combined cigarette litter reduction rate of 56%.
Are you interested in addressing this problem in your community? Identify other stakeholders who care about your neighborhood who can help you. Your team should include representatives of businesses, local government and neighborhood organizations. Then, follow the steps outlined in KAB’s Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention. It will be a valuable program your team can use to improve your community.
A Little More Thought—Less Littered Butts!