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No Butts About It……Virginia Beach Working to Reduce Cigarette Litter

Posted on August 6, 2015 by | Comments Off

8.5x11_whaleThe City of Virginia Beach is excited to participate in two Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) grants in an effort to reduce cigarette litter at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Area.

VB 1st streetClean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University (CVW) is spearheading the Virginia Beach Oceanfront initiative. CVW’s program involves working with various partners at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. This project targets visitors to the resort area and is the first CLPP of its kind!

With the help of the Virginia Beach Hotel Association (VBHA) and Virginia Green, CVW partnered with 12 resort hotels and supplied each of them with a cigarette receptacle, pocket ashtrays and program signage for their guests. We also worked with the City of Virginia Beach Resort Management office to place five receptacles on the boardwalk between 20th and 24th Streets. Finally, through collaboration with the VBHA, Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Resort Advisory Commission (RAC) G.R.E.E.N. Committee, we created graphics consistent with the committee’s Clean Beaches Program. 

Throughout the project, volunteers from Surfrider Foundation’s Virginia Beach Chapter and the Navy’s Norfolk Fleet Readiness Center have conducted six litter scans at four sites along the oceanfront, including small areas along the beach, boardwalk and beach access areas. To date, volunteers have counted and removed more than 12,000 butts from the sites.

VB 20th streetOnce the project is complete, we hope the Clean Beaches Program will continue keeping our beaches Beachy Clean!  Keep track of our project on the CLPP Virginia Beach Facebook page:

Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation is also participating in a CLPP grant coordinated through at Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Area. This 42-area preserve has more than 12,000 feet of shoreline and, while the City of Virginia Beach owns the property, the water/reservoir is owned by the City of Norfolk.

After being closed for approximately one year, this popular fishing destination reopened in October 2014 after a major renovation. The improvements include a new boat ramp, car and boat trailer parking, several fishing and overlook platforms, a pedestrian bridge, trail renovations, a large shelter, a new playground and a new restroom facility.

VB 20150803_152512_resizedVB 20150803_152733_resizedAs a part of the grant initiative, five cigarette litter receptacles have been placed throughout the property to encourage proper disposal of cigarette litter. Our goal is to provide disposal resources, educate citizens and encourage our patrons to assist us with litter prevention. This is the first time Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation has participated in the CLPP.

On Saturday, August 8 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. staff and volunteers will be at Lake Smith/Lake Lawson to educate patrons on the program. Patrons will learn about the new receptacle locations, receive educational material and free portable pocket and auto ash trays.

In addition, the Virginia Beach Oceanfront and Lake Smith/Lake Lawson Natural Areas CLPP are a part of Terracycle’s Cigarette Waste Brigade. The cigarette waste collected is recycled into a variety of industrial products such as plastic pallets, and remaining waste is recycled as compost.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in America.  We encourage everyone to dispose of cigarettes butts and other litter in their proper receptacles and to do their part in Keeping Virginia Beach Beautiful!

Submitted by Amy Woodson, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation and Christina Trapani, Eco Maniac Company    

Posted in: Beautification, Cigarette Litter, Cigarette Litter, Don't litter!, Golf Tournament

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Keep Suffolk Beautiful Encourages the End to Cigarette Butt Litter

Posted on July 30, 2015 by | Comments Off

Suffolk CLPP#NoCigaretteLitterNow. The hash tag says it all! Seven Hampton Roads localities have teamed up to tackle cigarette butt litter throughout our communities. While each community is unique in their execution of the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, the message is the same: cigarette butts = litter. The City of Suffolk launched its cigarette litter prevention program on June 22. With the help of the chair of the Suffolk Clean Community Commission, Kathy Russell, and City of Suffolk Public Works employees, we were able to install five cigarette receptacles in downtown Suffolk along Main Street and West Washington. Downtown Suffolk was chosen as the target area for this program because it is the source of new construction, high traffic volume, and various businesses. The receptacles can be found in front of Toke Hookah Lounge, Serendipity Hair Salon, East Coast Taco, Super Drug Inc., and All About Virginia & More gift Shop. The owner of each of these businesses have joined in our efforts to stop cigarette butt litter by pledging to take responsibility for the upkeep of these receptacles and also to help communicate to smokers the harm of cigarette litter. Originally finding over 300 cigarette butts in our target area, our goal is for the receptacles, along with the educational awareness, to help reduce the number of cigarette butt litter found on the ground. Listed below are ways that you can get involved with our program:

  • Smokers: visit any of the participating business in downtown Suffolk to grab your free pocket or car ashtray! Never throw cigarette butts out of car windows or on the ground.
  • Do Your Part: host a cleanup in your community or neighborhood to help Keep Suffolk Beautiful. It is our responsibility to help keep our community litter free. Cigarette butt litter is unsightly and harmful to wildlife.
  • Communicate: inform smokers about the harm of cigarette litter. Filters do not biodegrade and persist in the environment.
  • Share your thoughts: Use the hashtag #NoCigaretteLitterNow on Facebook and Twitter to let friends and families know about the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.
  • See for yourself: City of Suffolk Public Works will be at each T.G.I.F. Summer Concert Series for the remainder of the summer. Stop by to learn more about the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program and to pick up a free ashtray! Be sure to look for the results of this program, along with the follow up scan that will be shared in a national report. 

Suffolk CLPP2Receptacle placement is most successful at points of transition, where people are moving from place to place. The positioning of the receptacles combined with positive reminders, education and awareness will help smokers to do the right thing. Remember, cigarette butts are litter too.

This blog contributed by Lacie Nixson, Environmental Technician with Suffolk Public Works.

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

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Buckroe Beach’s New Additons!

Posted on July 23, 2015 by | Comments Off

HA Buckroe Beach

“Grooving by the Bay” Concert Series
Buckroe Beach Park, Hampton, VA

Every Sunday evening through August 9th, hundreds will gather at Buckroe Park for Grooving by the Bay. Some will tap to the beat of a band and others will dance till the sun goes down or their feet ache. Whichever comes first!

Years ago ashtrays were in every vehicle, restaurant, business, and many homes. Today, ash receptacles are hard to find and businesses require smokers to smoke only outside. Last year at Buckroe Park there was no place to dispose of cigarette butts and cigar tips safely! According to “Keep America Beautiful” research, 32% of litter is found in outdoor recreation areas. Of course, the beach and park are no place for cigarette butt filters that contain a concentation of harmful carcinogens and are undigestable.  They may be picked up by children or eaten by wildlife thinking it is food.  Don’t despair!

HA Buckroe Beach CLPPGOOD NEWS! SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT THIS YEAR! Thanks to a Keep America Beautiful  and their Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) grant along with $5,000 raised by through the annual Keep Hampton Roads Beautiful Golf Tournament, ash receptacles have now been placed for smokers convenience at both Buckroe Park and Buckroe’s Fishing Pier!

Be on the lookout for our new additions placed at the pavilion, entrance to playground, restroom area, Sand Dollar picnic shelter, and park and fishing piers. Volunteers will also be passing out free pocket ashtrays to smokers during the Grooving by the Bay concert series. So far, recipients of pocket ashtrays are delighted to become advocates for creating a cleaner community not only for children, but our wildlife and waterways too. 

CigButtLitter-Pic2Come on down and listen to the beat of “Grooving by the Bay” Sunday evenings from 6:00- 9:00 pm. Last concert is August 9th. You just may see me or one of our volunteers passing out pocket ashtrays!  Please introduce yourself!

This blog contributed by Cris Ausink of the Hampton Clean City Commission.

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

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Fighting Cigarette Litter in Newport News

Posted on July 16, 2015 by | Comments Off

CigButtLitter-Pic2Did you know that for the last 27 years, cigarette litter has been the number one item picked up during Clean the Bay Day and the International Coastal Cleanup? Sadly, most smokers believe that cigarette butts and cigar tips are biodegradable. They are not. The problem is not only that cigarette litter is unsightly. It can als0 cause fires in mulch material, clog storm drains and endanger marine animals. Studies have shown that eighteen percent of litter dropped on streets ends up in waterways.

The Newport News Resource Recovery Team and Community Maintenance/Beautification Team have been partnering with Keep America Beautiful for over four years to promote awareness about cigarette litter and engage community partners in cigarette litter prevention projects. This year, Newport News joined Hampton Roads District Planning Commission and the regional team to combine resources and share expertise.

You can look at nearly any intersection in Hampton Roads and see evidence of cigarette litter. It costs every city and county in the region a great deal of time, effort and money to clear storm drains that are clogged with litter. That litter can cause flooding and other problems within the community. In all of our projects, we have engaged property owners, residents businesses and our citizens in outreach and awareness and provided pocket ashtrays, permanent ash receptacles to be placed in strategic locations and auto-friendly cup holder ashtrays for smokers on-the-go. Our goal is to provide options to smokers so they will no longer use our streets and sidewalks to dispose of their cigarettes.

NN Go Green Auto CareThis year’s project in Newport News will be along the section of Warwick Boulevard that crosses Main Street. Go Green Auto Care, located at 10500 Warwick Boulevard in Newport News, is one distribution and outreach partner along with other area businesses and the good neighbors at First United Methodist Church and St Andrews Episcopal Church.

How can you help? You can make a difference by:

  • Carrying a portable ashtray when smoking outside. We have both pocket ashtrays and a limited number of car cup holder ashtrays available at our business partners and at our Recovery Operations Center located at 530 Atkinson Way in Newport News.
  • Use an ash receptacle to dispose of cigarette butts. These are normally located near transition points where people must stop smoking before they proceed.
  • Do not throw your cigarette butts out of car windows.

Together we can make a difference.

This blog submitted by Daniel Baxter, Business Recycling Coordinator for the City of Newport News.

Posted in: Cigarette Litter, Don't litter!

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Myth-Busting Cigarette Litter with Keep Norfolk Beautiful

Posted on July 9, 2015 by | Comments Off

Cigarette Litter Keep Norfolk Beautiful is pleased to be a part of this regional effort to educate the public on smoking product litter. We have known for a long time that cigarette butts are the number one littered item and the most costly to remove due to their small size. The hope of this educational campaign is to dispel the most egregious myths about this particular type of litter.

Myth 1- Filters are biodegradable. This means to break down by a living organism. Filters are plastic so they simply degrade and the plastic breaks into even smaller pieces. In water, these small pieces are mistaken for food by small creatures which in turn get eaten by bigger creatures including you and me!

Myth 2 – “My one cigarette butt is no big deal” – In Virginia 20% of the population smokes. At just one small site in downtown Norfolk volunteers counted 631 butts and cigar tips. Multiply that by all the stop lights and areas outside restaurants all over Hampton Roads and you get more than one.

Norfolk PreScan

During Keep Norfolk Beautiful day in April, these awesome volunteers did a scan of the targeted campaign area at Civic Plaza.

The good news is that smokers respond well to added receptacles- a key strategy for reducing this type of litter. Most don’t know that butts harm waterways and after learning the facts carry pocket or car ashtray.

During the summer Norfolk’s campaign will focus on Civic Plaza which includes City Hall, a Light Rail stop and the new court building. Fact sheets, new receptacles and both pocket and car ashtrays will be distributed free of charge. Picking this location will reach a diverse group of citizens and City leaders who can spread the word about keeping Norfolk beautiful. To learn more visit

This blog contributed by Lisa Renee Jennings, Public Service Coordinator for Keep Norfolk Beautiful.

Posted in: Cigarette Litter, Don't litter!

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