Post on : May 27, 2021
With 5 Million Cigarette Butts Living on City Streets, New Clean St. John’s Pilot Project Aims to Reduce Cigarette Butt Litter in Downtown St. John’s
Clean St. John’s, a non-profit organization with a mandate to create and promote a litter-free city, is launching an anti-cigarette butt litter pilot project, Butt-Free YYT, on June 1, 2021 in downtown St. John’s to raise awareness and inspire a change in behaviour in relation to cigarette butt littering. The Downtown St. John’s Business Commission is pleased to partner with Clean St. John’s on this pilot project and help keep downtown clean and cigarette butt free.
Like most cities and towns around the world, cigarette butt litter lives and thrives on the streets of the capital city. Tossing cigarette butts on the ground has become a normalized way to dispose of cigarettes, with smokers littering over 14,000 cigarette butts on St. John’s streets every single day.
Cigarette butts, comprised of residual tobacco, paper and filters made of plastic fibers, do not decompose when tossed on the ground and pose serious threats to the environment and local ecosystems.
As the most littered item in our city, cigarette butts are not just unsightly, they also have a negative impact on the environment that most people are unaware of. In an effort to raise environmental awareness related to cigarette butt litter and encourage responsible disposal, the pilot project will take a two-pronged approach through education and infrastructure. An awareness campaign will educate the public about the environmental impacts of cigarette litter while 40 receptacles strategically located throughout the core of downtown St. John’s will encourage change in smokers’ behaviour through environmentally sound cigarette butt disposal.
A local waste management company will manage the collection of receptacle waste. All cigarette butts collected will be sent to TerraCycle, a recycling company specializing in products that are challenging to recycle. The tobacco, ash and paper will be composted, while the filter will be separated out, melted into hard plastic, pelletized and used to make recycled plastic products.
During the pilot project, which will run from June 2021 to June 2022, Clean St. John’s will collect data on the number of cigarette butts disposed of in the 40 receptacles and work with contractors and local businesses to measure the project’s success. Clean St. John’s hopes that the Butt-Free YYT pilot project can be expanded to other parts of the City to create a cigarette butt-free city for everyone to enjoy.
As a local downtown property owner, business and/or organization, we are seeking your support on this important initiative. Clean St. John’s has developed educational window stickers which they encourage you to display in your window-fronts. Together, we can raise awareness on the impact of cigarette butt litter and encourage a change in behaviour – and help keep downtown clean.
To get involved, please visit cleanstjohns.ca and follow them on social media.