Cigarette litter is no small matter and, together with our locality partners, askHRgreen.org is taking a big approach to encourage Hampton Roads residents to stop dropping their butts. From May 1st to 14th, larger-than-life size cigarette butt sculptures will loom large in public spaces across the region. Coupled with an offer to provide free cigarette butt receptacles to area businesses, organizers of the #NoButtsAboutIt promotion hope the artwork will convince smokers to keep local landscapes and waterways cigarette litter-free.
Constructed out of PVC pipe and spray foam insulation, the sculptures on display across the region vary in size, measuring approximately two to three feet long. They will be on display on the following dates at these locations:
- May 1-7, in:
- Gloucester at Abingdon Park & Ark Park
- Hampton at the Y. H. Thomas Community Recreation Center
- Norfolk at Nauticus
- Virginia Beach at the Virginia Beach Convention Center
- May 2-6 in Suffolk at the stoplight onto Godwin Blvd (ramp off of U.S. Route 58 heading eastbound)
- May 3-6 in Norfolk at the Virginia Zoo
- May 3-7, in:
- Suffolk at the VDOT Hampton Roads District Office (7511 Burbage Drive)
- Virginia Beach at the Brock Environmental Center
- May 3-10 in Chesapeake at the Central Library
- May 4-7 in James City County at the JCC Recreation Center
- May 7-14, in:
- Gloucester at Woodville Park & Gloucester Point Beach
- Virginia Beach at the Virginia Aquarium
Cigarette litter is a big deal.
It is well documented that cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item in the United States. They may be small, but flicking a cigarette butt on the ground is actually a big deal. Cigarette litter has a ripple effect in our communities with long-lasting impacts.
Funded in part by a grant from Keep Virginia Beautiful, the #NoButtsAboutIt promotion illustrates the negative impact cigarette litter has on the environment. According to Keep America Beautiful, it represents 38 percent of roadway litter, 32 percent of litter in storm drains and 32 percent of litter in outdoor recreation areas. The filters are not biodegradable because they contain cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that will persist in the environment. Also, the filters hold toxins, which can leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that come in contact with them.
Free-standing cigarette waste receptacles, however, can make a difference when conveniently placed where smokers gather. As part of the #NoButtsAboutIt campaign, Hampton Roads business owners can apply online for one of 100 free cigarette waste receptacles at www.askhrgreen.org/grants/cigarette-waste-receptacle-grant/. Businesses are also encouraged to sign on to the askHRgreen.org Bay Star Business program, which recognizes local businesses that implement easy or no-cost practices to improve the health of local waterways.
Good or bad, our everyday actions can have a lasting impact on the environment. We hope this new initiative highlights that fact and encourages people to make responsible decisions when it comes to cigarette waste disposal.