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Cigarette Litter


No butts about it!

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in America! Cigarette butts on the ground instantly turn a beautiful place on its head. Not only are they unsightly, but they are very bad for water quality if they get washed down the storm drain and into our local waterways. No one wants to swim with cigarette butts!

  • According to Keep America Beautiful, tobacco litter makes up:
    38% of roadway litter
    32% of litter in storm drains
    32% of litter in outdoor recreation areas

    According to Keep America Beautiful, many of the same people who would never throw a can or paper on the ground don't think twice about tossing cigarette butts on the ground.

    Cigarette butt litter most often occurs when there isn't an ash receptacle at the entrance to buildings, bus stops or loading docks - any place where people are transitioning.

    Localities in Hampton Roads can help keep roadways, waterways and public spaces cigarette litter-free by implementing Keep America Beautiful's "Cigarette Litter Prevention Program."
    The program has 5 steps:
    • Gather a Task Force
    • Assess Community Needs and Establish a Budget
    • Kick-off Cigarette Litter Prevention Program
    • Evaluate Program Impact
    • Sustain and Expand
  • Everyone can help keep roadways, waterways and public spaces cigarette litter-free by following these tips from Keep America Beautiful's Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.
  • Smokers
    • Before you light up, identify where you will dispose of your cigarette waste when you finish smoking. Use ash and ash/trash receptacles.
    • Carry a pocket ashtray all the time or have a portable ashtray with you as you leave your home, office or car.
    • Encourage fellow smokers to be responsible for their cigarette litter, too.
  • Businesses
    • Provide ash and trash receptacles at entrances, exits, loading docks, picnic areas as well as in packing lots and along walkways of your business. Remember, these should be placed where the people generally gather.
    • Educate your employees about the importance of individual responsibility for a clean and safe working environment.
  • Local Government
    • Identify "Transition Points" in your community. Place ash and trash receptacles at these points and commit to proper maintenance of the receptacles.
    • Encourage building owners and business managers to place ash receptacles at points outdoors where their employees and/or customers smoke.
    • Distribute portable or pocket ashtrays and litter bags throughout your community, and educate citizens about individual responsibility for proper waste disposal.
    • Coordinate "adopt-a-spot" programs with local community organizations, youth groups and school groups to augment the regular maintenance of public places by your employees
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