More options to dispose of cigarette litter downtown

by | Feb 9, 2020 | Environmental

From the City of Fredericksburg:

Several new downtown Sidewalk Buttlers are standing ready to help prevent cigarette butt litter. The City of Fredericksburg’s Clean and Green Commission and the Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board (R-Board) partnered to acquire the 30 free cigarette buttlers from Keep Virginia Beautiful (KVB) to provide the public a means to dispose of their cigarette butts. These new buttlers are in addition to the initial 30 units donated in 2019 by KVB to the City’s Parks, Recreation and Events Department — now in place in City parks.

The City’s Public Works Department installed the buttlers and they are emptied by Commission interns. The containers are mounted on sidewalk trash receptacles and are primarily located along Caroline and William Streets. All cigarette butts collected will be weighed and then recycled via TerraCycle.

These new units replace the downtown “butt buckets” the Commission sourced and maintained as part of their ongoing “Butts Are Litter Too” campaign. “The downtown butt buckets served their purpose to help reduce cigarette litter, but they were labor intensive and needed to be replaced regularly,” said Robert Courtnage, Commission chairman. “Our new Sidewalk Buttlers are a more attractive and more permanent solution to help curb cigarette litter.”

Cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item. Because the filters are made mostly of plastic, they do not biodegrade. When dropped on the street or sidewalk, they may be washed into storm drains and end up in the Rappahannock River and beyond, where they harm aquatic life.

Littering is also a criminal offense in the City. The Fredericksburg Police Department strictly enforces the littering code. According to the City’s Watershed Manager, “A cigarette butt that is tossed on the sidewalk could cost you up to $2,500, a conviction of a Class 1 misdemeanor, lost wages, and court costs. That’s a pretty expensive cigarette.”

Watch the R-Board’s video, “Please Butt In – Cigarette Butts are Litter too” https://youtu.be/1HGZ0veKT5k

For more information about the Fredericksburg Clean & Green Commission, please visit their Facebook page or webpage.

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