Cigarette Butt Litter

RR ButtsCigarette butt litter is always one of the top 10 items being found in clean-ups, particularly in urban areas. Most people don't realise that cigarette butts are made out of plastic, so take an estimated 10 years or more to degrade into tiny plastic fibres. Check out this image by Responsible Runners Bondi who picked up a crazy 25,000 cigarette butts at Bondi Beach - a beach that actually has a non-smoking policy!

Butt It, Bin It in Hobsons Bay

HobsonsBayTinsHobsons Bay Council has been running a “Butt it, Bin it” campaign since 2014, due for completion in July 2017. This Source Reduction Plan aimed to continue to raise community awareness after it concluded, and to reduce cigarette litter through education and responsible disposal of butts via the dispersal of personal ashtrays. These personal ashtrays were upcycled mint tins with educational messaging attached.

Face to face surveys were conducted with smokers in 4 suburbs to measure community awareness on the issue and littering behaviour and attitudes towards it. On three occasions with a volunteer dressed in a cigarette butt suit. The methodology for the project was created by community volunteers, the Port Philip Bay Eco Centre, and Hobsons Bay City Council.

Some learnings included: due to the time of year (winter), it was often very cold and windy to conduct audits and surveys. Media was not harnessed as much as could have been, but two Save Sam the Seadragon presentations helped raise the issue of plastic harm to wildlife.

The project to product and distribute the mint tin personal ashtrays is ongoing. With a permanent collection point provided at the Altona EnviroCentre. The outcomes of the smoker surveys have been given to interested community groups for future initiatives targeting the issue.

This Source Reduction Plan was supported through a Sustainability Victoria Litter Innovation funding.

Bayside tackles cigarette butt litter

cig butt survey 5Cigarette butt litter is the most common form of litter in the Bayside City Council particularly in shopping strips, and close to cafes and bars. This Source Reduction Plan (SRP) project's objective was to reduce cigarette butt litter within the Black Rock cafe/bar and restaurant precinct.

The first step of this SRP was to run cigarette butt surveys along Bluff and Balcombe Roads to identify cigarette butt hotspots. One survey was conducted prior to the new smoking bans taking effect on 1 August 2017, and one several weeks following the ban. This helped identify butt litter hotspots and was used to assess if the new smoking laws had the desired effect.


Smoking ban proposed for Cottesloe’s beaches

Cigarette buttsTo address the problem of cigarette butt litter on beaches Cottesloe Council in Perth, is likely to ban smoking on its beaches early in 2018.

A change to local laws was gazetted before the WA State Parliament on 14 November 2017. The change to the Local Government Property Local Law would allow the Cottesloe Council to install signs that prohibit smoking on beaches, and also five metres from the entrances and exits of any local government premises.

To be completely lawful, MPs in both houses of Parliament are required to have 14 sitting days to propose a disallowance of the change, which means this is possible, though unlikely, in March 2018.

The Cottesloe Council will decide early in 2018 where the ban on smoking is likely to be enforced.

Cigarette butts are made out of what?

Cig butt memeAs part of the Source Reduction Plan workshops that we held earlier this year around Port Phillip Bay, three local projects addressing cigarette butt litter were developed. This included surveying smokers, and we were surprised that many people didn't realise cigarette butts are actually made out of plastic. To help close this knowledge gap, we've created a few resources which you can download from our website.

Cigarette butt meme

Cigarette butt video

Thanks to everyone who got involved in the projects, to Sustainability Victoria and the 7 local government partners for their support!

Ms No Butts Tackling Butt Litter

There is a common misconception that small amounts of litter don’t have a big effect the environment. This is false. Research shows that it can take more than 12 years for cigarette butt litter to break down, polluting our environment and waterways. All we ask smokers to do is please butt it, then bin it.
One of Greater Dandenong’s most recent residents, Ms NoButts (#msnobutts) also feels very strongly about this matter and thinks that there are no butts about it - Greater Dandenong is not an ashtray. Dropping cigarette butts and small amounts of litter are against the law and attract fines which exceed $6000 if the matter is referred to court.


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