Rather than flicking cigarette butts onto the ground, the City of Vancouver is encouraging residents to “hold on to their butts,” as part of a new initiative within its annual anti-litter public awareness campaign.
Starting this month, pocket ashtrays will be distributed for free throughout the rest of the summer at outreach events and then year-round at community centres, the library and city hall. Users can put out and conveniently store their used cigarettes until near a garbage can.
“Cigarette butts are the most prevalent type of litter collected in beach clean-ups around the world, and they are consistently the number one form of litter found on our local streets, parks, and beaches,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “By putting waste in its place, we can do our part to protect our parks, beaches, waterways, and wildlife.”
Those in the city core can take advantage of the world’s first cigarette butt recycling pilot program, which launched in 2013. Approximately 100 special recycling bins have been installed on several blocks in downtown, the west end, Robson Street and Gastown, as well as containers added onto several regular on-street plastic and paper receptacles. Since its inception, the program has collected in excess of 1.2 million butts.
Jonathan Gormick, Vancouver Fire Rescue Services information officer, reminds people that improper disposal of the used filters — which could result in fines from $100 to $10,000 for offenders — causes more than just dirty sidewalks.
“Virtually all outdoor fires in Vancouver are started by discarded smoking material,” said Gormick. “These fires spread rapidly, and have potentially devastating consequences — we need everyone’s help to eliminate this preventable danger. Keeping Vancouver green is a shared responsibility.”
For more information, and a full list of locations distributing pocket ashtrays, visit: vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/cigarette-litter-reduction.aspx.