Intensifying its efforts to combat one of America’s largest and most persistent litter problems through education and action, Keep America Beautiful® announced today the expansion of its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.
The intensified efforts will include significant public awareness advertising by Keep America Beautiful. Research conducted during the development of the program indicated a fundamental awareness problem; many smokers do not consider tossing cigarette butts to be a form of littering. Many smokers and non-smokers alike believe that the butts are biodegradable. In fact, the filter is made of cellulose acetate – a plastic that does not easily degrade under normal conditions.
The expanded efforts will also provide additional resources for communities that implement the program, and will refine the program to include solutions for parks, beaches and recreation areas. Facility managers interested in reducing cigarette litter in and around their buildings can request a free CD-ROM Guide to the program through the Keep America Beautiful Web site.
“Cigarette butts are the most-littered item in America, representing nearly 30% of all items documented in our clean-up initiatives,” said Keep America Beautiful president G. Raymond Empson. “Aggressively addressing this growing problem is essential to our organization’s mission of improving communities through litter prevention, waste reduction, and beautification. We’re looking forward to expanding our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2006.”
The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program addresses the issue by integrating four proven approaches: enforcing litter laws that include cigarette litter; raising awareness about the issue using public service messages; placement of ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings or transit; and distribution of pocket ashtrays.
Keep America Beautiful offers the following advice to businesses and other organizations: Provide employees and visitors with ash receptacles at all entry points. These transition points are the places smokers need to discard their cigarettes before entering the building. Once installed, these ash receptacles need to be monitored and maintained regularly. Smokers will become accustomed to using these receptacles and you may need to add more to control the cigarette litter.