To combat cigarette litter in downtown Plano, Live Green in Plano was awarded a 2017 Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant to purchase cigarette butt stations, portable ashtrays for vehicles and a public education campaign. After smokers deposit their cigarette butts into the “buttlers,” city staff will empty and ship them to TerraCycle. This upcycling focused company will recycle the butts into plastic industrial products and donates $1 for every pound (approximately 100 butts) to Keep America Beautiful. Check out the new cigarette “buttlers” in downtown Plano and learn more about cigarette litter prevention below.
Cigarette butts may be small, but it doesn’t mean that cigarette litter is a small problem. Approximately 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide each year. Only 10% of cigarette butts are properly deposited in ash receptacles. And over 80% of smokers said they would properly dispose of their butts if ash receptacles were available. Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are not biodegradable, they are plastic, and contain 4,000 toxic chemicals and 50 carcinogens. When cigarette butts are flicked out of a car’s window or dropped on the ground they often end up in storm drains which flow directly into our creeks and water supplies. If ingested, they can choke or poison children or animals with their toxins. They can also start fires if not extinguished.
Cigarette Litter Scan
In December 2016, a cigarette litter baseline scan was conducted in downtown Plano. Over 1,225 cigarette butts were collected on a Friday and Saturday from sidewalks and city planters outside of the shops and restaurants on 15th Street, K Ave, and McCall Plaza. Based on this data, Live Green in Plano applied for a Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant and has purchased and installed 15 self-extinguishing ash receptacles in downtown Plano to prevent cigarette litter. Live Green in Plano will conduct follow up cigarette litter scans to quantify cigarette butt litter in downtown.