Do Cigarettes Litter Your Landscape?

Facility Executive – Keep America Beautiful®, the nation’s largest community improvement nonprofit organization, has announced the opening of the grant application period for the 2020 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP), designed to help communities combat the most commonly littered item in America. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful strives to end littering, improve recycling and beautify communities. (This includes its annual America Recycles Day program, held since 1997.)

In 2020 to combat cigarette litter, Keep America Beautiful will offer individual merit-based grants in amounts of $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000, not to exceed $200,000 in total funds. Keep America Beautiful community-based affiliates, local governments, business improvement districts, downtown associations, parks and recreation commissions, and other organizations dedicated to eradicating litter and beautifying their communities are encouraged to apply.

The deadline for all applications is Friday, April 10, 2020. All interested organizations should complete the online applicationGrant winners will be announced by April 24, 2020. In addition, Keep America Beautiful will focus on three primary types of interventions. Applicants will have the opportunity to focus on litter reduction through public messaging, infrastructure placement, or a combination of both.

Communities implementing the CLPP in 2019 reported an average 51% reduction of cigarette litter. This program’s grant funding empowers communities to help mitigate the economic, environmental, and quality-of-life impact of cigarette butt littering.

“Litter is both the smallest and largest problem at the same time,” said Jerred Jones, program director for the CLPP. “Keep America Beautiful believes that education and access to resources are crucial to changing littering behaviors.”

The CLPP, created by Keep America Beautiful in 2002, is the nation’s largest program aimed at eliminating cigarette butt and cigar tip litter. Since its inception, the program has been successfully implemented in more than 1,800 urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide. Over the past decade, participating communities have consistently cut cigarette butt litter by 50% based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after program implementation.

cigarette litterTo address cigarette butt litter, the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program advocates that 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.

Tobacco products, consisting mainly of cigarette butts, are the most littered item in Pennsylvania, representing 37% of all items littered, according to the 2018-2019 Pennsylvania Litter Research Study, Keep America Beautiful state affiliate Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s study that documented the quantity, composition, and sources of litter and attitudes toward litter and littering.

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.

The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is supported by funding from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company; RAI Services Company; and the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.

Does cigarette litter sully your facility’s exterior? What measures have you taken that are effective? If not cigarettes, is there another nuisance item littering your landscapes? Have you solved the problem? Please share you experience in the Comments section below.

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