– Results show reductions in litter increase over time when program is sustained –
STAMFORD, Conn., Feb. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Keep America Beautiful (KAB) reports that in 2010 there was an average 42 percent reduction of cigarette litter in the communities implementing KAB's Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP).
The nation's largest program aimed at reducing cigarette litter is in its eighth year. In 2010 there were 240 grant-funded implementations across the country including downtowns, roadways, beaches, parks, marinas, colleges/universities, tourist spots, and at special events.
In addition, a 2010 "sustainability survey" of 21 communities implementing the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program over multiple (1-4) years showed these communities are sustaining and even increasing their program impact over time, with an average reduction in cigarette butt litter of 63 percent. Data validates the long-term value of strategically-placed ash receptacles and ongoing public education, including signage.
"Changing ingrained behaviors, such as littering, requires a long-term and sustained commitment," says Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. "We're clearly seeing evidence that the longer a community focuses on anti-litter education programs, the more successful their efforts will be."
Tobacco products, including cigarette butts, are the most-littered item in America, representing nearly 38 percent of all items, according to "Litter in America," KAB's landmark 2009 study of litter and littering behavior. In response to this long-standing issue, KAB developed the CLPP with funding from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company. In 2010, the program received additional support from Reynolds American Inc. Services Company. Since its inception, the program has been implemented in nearly 800 U.S. communities.
"We've found the impact of this program is profound," says Frank Adams, executive director, Keep Chatsworth-Murray (Ga.) Beautiful. "While focusing on the littering of a product that most people don't even consider litter, we are finding that it brings a greater focus to litter overall."
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.
To address cigarette butt litter, KAB's Cigarette Litter Prevention Program recommends 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.
"Our cigarette butt count showed a nearly 80 percent reduction following the purchase and placement of cigarette receptacles in the target areas," says Linda Fry, Downtown Akron Partnership, Akron, Ohio. "Our ambassadors were also proactive in distributing pocket ashtrays to smokers within our downtown, which proved effective."
"Our efforts showed that a minor, inexpensive change like adding ashtrays to golf carts could make a large difference. We saw a 73 percent decrease in cigarette butt litter in the parking lots, around the golf bag stations, and on the course," says Carolyn Tomlinson, Keep Dorchester County (S.C.) Beautiful.
The "Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention" provides information about starting and maintaining a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in your community, and can be found online at www.PreventCigaretteLitter.org.
About Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. With a network of over 1,200 affiliates and participating organizations, Keep America Beautiful forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community's environment. To learn more, visit www.kab.org.
SOURCE Keep America Beautiful, Inc.