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James City County Determined to Reduce Roadside Litter

Posted on June 30, 2015 by | Comments (0)

JCC CLPP ButtsJames City County is doing its part to minimize roadside litter by educating smokers that cigarette butts = litter.  The James City Clean County Commission chose to spearhead this campaign at the Commuter Parking Lot on Croaker Road just off I-64 Exit 231B where cigarette butts and plastic cigar tips line the parking lot.

Cigarette litter accumulates in specific areas, which indicates the spots where commuters congregate when waiting for the commuter vanpools.   In other areas of the parking lot it is obvious that smokers empty their ashtrays on the pavement next to their parked cars.

Volunteers cleared the site of cigarette litter in mid-April and then conducted a survey in mid-May.  In just one month over 300 cigarette butts and plastic cigar tips had accumulated on only 1/5 of the parking lot!  Thanks to a grant from Keep America Beautiful, 4 ash receptacles were installed at locations that would be most convenient to smokers.JCC CLPP Ashtray

On an early Thursday morning in June, volunteers from the James City Clean County Commission watched the sun come up while distributing litter bags with pocket ashtrays, cup holder ashtrays and information to commuters as they parked their cars and waited for the vanpool to arrive.

Because this is a transit site, people are in a rush while trying to commute from Point A to Point B, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t make better choices about what to do with their cigarette litter.  And so what we found is that smokers are happy to be educated about their options and are interested to learn more about how this outreach links to the James City County Board of Supervisors’ initiative to focus on county appearance.

JCC Outreach June2015The Commission is using this location to spearhead their work in other locations throughout the county such as county offices, public parks and construction sites.  James City volunteers care deeply about this issue and encourage other volunteers to help spread the word that cigarette butts = litter too!


This post contributed by Dawn Oleksy, Environmental Coordinator with James City County.

Posted in: Cigarette Litter, Cigarette Litter, Don't litter!

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Concert Goers Learn About Cigarette Litter Prevention in Portsmouth

Posted on June 26, 2015 by | Comments Off

Portsmouth1-June 2015The nTelos Pavilion was selected for the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant in the City of Portsmouth.  This is a beautiful amphitheater on the Portsmouth waterfront.  The site had some ashtrays, but definitely needed more. The first concert after the project launch was Rob Zombie on June 5th.  There were 633 cigarette butts counted at that concert.  We noted the paths that people walked to determine where the new ashtrays would go for the next concert.

On Tuesday, June 16th, with new ashtrays in place, signs put up and a table filled with personal and automobile ashtrays to give away, the record breaking heat didn’t deter us from our mission of reminding patrons enjoying the Huey Lewis and the News concert that Cigarette Butts = Litter.

Portsmouth2-June 2015Many approached the table and picked up a personal ashtray for a spouse, friend or a family member.  Most of the people that picked up an ashtray were seated in the lawn seat section.  That’s the grassy area where most of the cigarette butts were located during the first concert count.  We added one new smoking outpost to the lawn section for this concert and were happily surprised at how many people used it!

We were not judgmental when handing out the ashtrays, nor did we encourage people to quit smoking. We simply provided smokers with an alternative to tossing the butts on the ground.  WVEC Channel 13 News interviewed us and we were able to promote our mission even though the story was about the extreme heat. 

Portsmouth3-June2015The cigarette litter prevention program was very well received at the nTelos Pavilion. We counted only 257 cigarette butts on the ground after the launch of the cigarette litter prevention program.  A thunderstorm appeared at the end of the concert making for a quick exit for some of the patrons.  If the storm hadn’t occurred, there is the possibility that there may have been a few more cigarette butts on the ground, but I’m an optimist. I believe that folks were given the right tools and that allowed them to do the right thing:  Less Cigarette Butts on the ground = a cleaner nTelos Pavilion.

Join the conversation by posting on social media using #NoCigaretteLitterNow or learn more about the regional Cigarette Litter Prevent Program now.

This blog submitted by Donna Corbus, City of Portsmouth Recycling Manager and Executive Director of Keep Portsmouth Beautiful.

Posted in: Cigarette Litter, Don't litter!

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Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time. Launches Regional Program to Reduce Cigarette Litter

Posted on June 5, 2015 by | Comments Off

They can be seen almost everywhere in Hampton Roads: one of the most unsightly things on street corners and intersections, gutters, parks and beaches and outside doorways and bus shelters. What am I talking about? Cigarette butts!

CigButtLitter-PostHeader-470x182-v01This summer, the team at with support from Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and local volunteers will organize a region-wide campaign to reduce cigarette litter using a proven strategy making an impact all across the country. Funding for this program was made possible by a grant from the KAB Cigarette Litter Prevention Program and proceeds from 2014′s inaugural Keep Hampton Roads Beautiful Golf Tournament. In seven project areas across Hampton Roads, the positioning of cigarette waste receptacles combined with positive reminders, education and awareness building will help smokers do the right thing. The team will be talking directly with smokers, encouraging them to be mindful of their disposal habits and offering them a pocket ashtray or auto ashtray that fits right into the cup holder of their vehicle.

Portable AshtraysKAB has researched cigarette litter quite a bit and found that cigarette butts are the MOST littered item in our beautiful country. Cigarette butts account for over a third of all litter collected from roadways, recreation areas and storm drains.

And they stick around – cigarette butts are NOT biodegradable. Cigarette filters are made of a plastic material that lasts a long time. If they are on the ground, they will stay there or get carried through storm drains to local wetlands and waterways. Who wants to swim with cigarette butts? They can be especially harmful when eaten by animals, birds or fish.

If you don’t smoke, it is easy to point your finger at smokers. But this campaign is not about smoking. The members of and our partners want to help change the behavior of smokers after smoking – to encourage proper disposal. There is so much of this litter and the habit is very common. So what can be done about it?

We are asking everyone in Hampton Roads to share this message:

Cigarette Butts = Litter.  

If you smoke, please dispose of cigarette butts in their proper receptacles. Carry a portable ashtray when you are on-the-go or find an ash receptacle for disposal. And never throw butts out a car window. Tweet us at @HRGreen and let us know how you are supporting the #NoCigaretteLitterNow campaign. Let’s keep Hampton Roads clean!

Look for more updates from across the region as local leaders head up targeted projects in the following places:

  • Norfolk: Civic Plaza and Light Rail Station at City Hall
  • Hampton: Buckroe Beach
  • Virginia Beach: Lake Lawson/Lake Smith Natural Area
  • Portsmouth: N’Telos Pavillion
  • Newport News: Hilton Village
  • Downtown Suffolk
  • James City County: I-64 Park and Ride Lot

 For more information about how you can help, visit

Posted in: Beautification, Cigarette Litter, Cigarette Litter, Community events, Don't litter!, Golf Tournament, HR Green campaign updates, Keeping storm drains free, Outdoor tips, Waterways

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Take the Pledge for Cleaner Waterways

Posted on May 19, 2015 by | Comments Off


Here’s the scoop:

Poop pollutes!

Did you know that pet waste is one of the leading causes of harmful bacteria in our local waterways? In addition to being unsightly, pet waste gets washed into nearby storm drains, ponds, and rivers when it rains and becomes a major source of nitrogen and bacteria pollution. This excess nitrogen and bacteria is responsible for cloudy, green, foul-smelling water; aquatic dead zones; declines in local fish and crab populations;  and beach closures. Yuck!

The average-sized dog creates a half pound of poop every day. That’s a lot of pollution that could be finding its way into our waterways! So what can you do to help? It’s as easy as 1-2-3!

  • Take the pledge to Scoop the Poop!
  • Scoop it, bag it and trash it each and every time (whether in your own yard or out for a walk).
  • Share the pledge with others in your community. A conversation with your neighbor, an email to a coworker or sharing on Facebook and Twitter are all perfect ways to get the word out to the dog lovers in your life.

Last year the “From Rover to River – No Poop Left Behind” partners sent over 60,000 emails encouraging residents to sign the Scoop the Poop pledge and received nearly 600 pledges in just 3 days! And if you need help remembering why you’ve gotta pick up the poop – just remember this catchy jingle!

A BIG scratch behind the ears to our scoop the poop community partners:

Chesapeake Humane Society | Elizabeth River Project | James River Association | Lafayette Wetlands Partnership | Nansemond River Preservation Alliance | Norfolk SPCA | People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals | Virginia Beach SPCA

Posted in: Don't litter!, Outdoor tips, Waterways

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How much litter to tolerate? How much beauty do we desire?

Posted on October 24, 2014 by | Comments Off

litterI often wonder about the “tipping point” when people realize they have too much litter around their community to be acceptable or tolerated any further.  Most of us reach that threshold of tolerability at a very early stage, and we work hard every day to keep our homes, streets and communities free of litter. Further, we strive for even greater beauty in the public spaces around us with the goal of creating a place we, and our neighbors, can be proud of and excited about.

litter1Unfortunately, many of us become desensitized over time to the appearance of misplaced solid waste, the modern definition of “litter.”  We silently and resentfully accept more of this, making us numb to the appearance of our community. We also assume that it is not our place to do anything about it. We leave it to others to take care of, or are quick to point fingers at the merchants and companies that produce the packaging that are left on our public right-of-ways.

To address this issue, people throughout Hampton Roads have joined together. Instead of staying frustrated and resigned that there will always be litter, we organize efforts to abate and prevent further littering. We cooperatively and collaboratively work side-by-side to fully understand the source of the litter, invite others to get involved, and develop strategic actions to resolve it for the long term.

litter3This effort takes more than just doing periodic litter pickup events. Cleaning up and keeping places clean is critical, but real change happens when there is a commonly understood and organized process, new partnerships, and investment of resources by citizens, businesses and government.

Many communities have recognized the need for this ongoing effort and have established “Clean Community” organizations. We are fortunate in Hampton Roads to have many such organizations, supported by local government and regionally connected through

Norfolk CleanupBy reaching this page and reading to this point, you are probably already “on board” with these ideas and have a strong interest in creating more vibrant public spaces by preventing litter and investing in community beautification. You then become a change agent for this more positive and sustainable approach and lead your friends and families to join in. You have committed to reject litter and waste in your communities and create clean and appealing public spaces around you.

For more information about how you can support these efforts in your own community, contact your local recycling and beautification program to learn more about your city or county’s clean community programs. For information about how over 600 towns, cities and counties across the country are doing the same, check out Keep America Beautiful’s systematic approach to building vibrant communities.

Next Month: What is up with plastics recycling?

Posted in: Beautification, Don't litter!, Reduce reuse and recycle, Uncategorized

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