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Communities Report Prolonged Success In Reducing Cigarette Butt Litter

In addition to Keep America Beautiful affiliates, KAB offered grants through its partnership with the International Downtown Association (IDA) and International City/County Management Association (ICMA) in 2012. In Southwest Detroit, the West Vernor and Springwells Business Improvement District realized an 81 percent reduction in cigarette litter between July and October. With 10 receptacles installed, the organization estimated it saved four hours of maintenance per week. "The impact in reducing litter through the CLPP has been astonishing," said Matthew Bihun, BID program manager.

Research has shown that even self-reported "non-litterers" often don't consider tossing cigarette butts on the ground to be "littering." Keep America Beautiful has found that cigarette butt litter occurs most often at transition points—areas where a person must stop smoking before proceeding into another area. These include bus stops, entrances to stores and public buildings, and the sidewalk areas outside of bars and restaurants, among others.

To address cigarette butt litter, KAB's Cigarette Litter Prevention Program recommends communities integrate four proven approaches:

  • Encourage enforcement of litter laws, including cigarette litter;
  • Raise awareness about the issue using public service messages;
  • Place ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings; and
  • Distribute pocket or portable ashtrays to adult smokers.

The "Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention" provides information about starting and maintaining a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in your community, and can be found online at PreventCigaretteLitter.org.

About Keep America Beautiful Keep America Beautiful is the nation's leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With a strong national network of 1,200 affiliates and partners including state recycling organizations, we work with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities.

Keep America Beautiful offers programs and engages in public-private partnerships that help create clean, beautiful public places, reduce waste and increase recycling while educating generations of environmental stewards. Through our actions, we help create communities that are socially connected, environmentally healthy and economically sound. For more information, visit kab.org.

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