Have you ever stopped to look along the gutters or alley ways of towns? They can quite often be littered with cigarette butts and other smoking-related litter. These bits of so-called ‘micro-litter’ are quite often discarded and not thought of as litter. Help keep Dorset Litter Free and #BinYourButt
#BINYOURBUTT – This is not a bin
What’s the problem?
The issue with cigarette butts is that they can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years to decompose, depending on conditions. As the filters in cigarettes contain a form of plastic, cellulose acetate, it is a very slow process to degrade in the environment.
Cigarette butts are often dropped along road sides or down alley ways, and as they are small and light, easily get washed down the drain. Surface water drains lead straight out to the ocean, and so they go directly into to the water ways.
• Cigarette filters don’t degrade or dissolve. They stay around forever
• Any cigarette butts that get put down street drains flow to the river or sea
• Clean-up costs us all – if you are caught dropping a cigarette butt you can be incurred with a fine of £75
We ran the #BinyourButt campaign from 11th September to the end of October 2017 across 3 locations in Dorset that are badly affected by cigarette butt litter; Dorchester, Ferndown and Swanage.
In Dorchester the Higher or Lower game was run. Each week the Keeper of the Walks recorded how many cigarette butts he was sweeping up. Using large signs that were placed in the centre of Dorchester we updated people to show whether the amount of cigarettes dropped had gone Higher or Lower than the previous week in the hope that more people wouldn’t drop their cigarette butts. By the end of the campaign we had seen a 67.8% drop in cigarette litter in Dorchester!
In Ferndown and Swanage the use of giant cigarette butts were brought out during events to make people realise that cigarette butt litter is not something that can just be walked over.
Want to get involved?
Litter Free Dorset has a wide range of resources available to community groups within Dorset. Below you can find a few resources to get you started. For more just get in touch with Litter Free Dorset. Other items available are:
• Higher / Lower road signs
• Portable ashtrays (see the video above). These are FREE and are great to give to people to encourage them not to drop cigarette butts on the floor
• 7 giant cigarette butts to be used for events