- National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful's 2015 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program helped to achieve a 52% reduction in cigarette litter in the participating communities, marking a 4% increase over its 2014 outcome. Moving forward, the nonprofit will award 49 grants worth a total of $240,000 to downtown associations, park and recreation areas, and organizations to address litter and implement the program in their communities this year.
- The Program has offered grants since 2006, enabling more than 1,500 communities to launch the initiative aimed at changing behaviors and ending cigarette butt litter.
- The 14-year-running initiative is supported by funding from Philip Morris, RAI Services Company, and the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.
The most powerful armament against litter is the ability to motivate people to change long-standing habits, and to make it easier for them to do it. Multipronged approaches tend to be most effective, but something as simple as putting ash receptacles where people are most likely to toss their butts can make a huge difference, as Hampton Roads Planning District Commission in Chesapeake, VA, one of the 2015 grant recipients, demonstrated. The result of this move was a 74% reduction in cigarette litter.
Award recipient Keep Ohio Beautiful and its partners launched an educational program resulting in 58% less cigarette litter. And these are just spots on the map among thousands in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Canada, who have impacted change—overall halving cigarette litter within four to six months of program implementation. The communities that carry on measures on their own are continuing to see the same or better results.
"Keep America Beautiful and more than 600 affiliates are in the business of behavior-change. Our history proves that we can change behaviors that lead to reducing litter, and our impact is particularly evident when it comes to the successful and sustained results of the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program," said Jennifer Jehn, the nonprofit’s President and CEO, as reported by PR Newswire.
Meanwhile Terracycle is making headway around the world tackling the same problem. The company has collected and recycled more than 45 million cigarette filters, and joins forces with Keep America Beautiful to keep those numbers climbing.