News

Walk Your Butt to the Can!

Capitol Hill Business Improvement District Sets Sights on Cigarette Butt Litter

(Washington, D.C.) (August 1, 2009) – The Capitol Hill Business Improvement District (BID) will take part this year in a national program to reduce the impact of cigarette butt litter, the Keep America Beautiful® Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. In its first year with the program, The Capitol Hill BID will target cigarette butt litter at three high-traffic areas on Capitol Hill with a concentrated and sustained effort. The three areas of concentration are at the south east corner of 8th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE; on 1st Street SE in front of Bullfeathers and Tortilla Coast; and on the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets SE.

The program’s strategic approach involves all stakeholders in the cigarette litter problem, including businesses, local governments, community organizations and, importantly, smokers themselves. Local businesses and organizations are also involved in the effort, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals (CHAMPS), and Barracks Row Main Street have all signed proclamations of support which can be downloaded at www.capitolhillbid.org.

The Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program addresses the issue by integrating four proven approaches: encouraging enforcement of litter laws that include cigarette litter; raising awareness about the issue using public service messages; placing ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings; and distributing pocket ashtrays to adult smokers. In 2008, nearly 200 communities reported an average 46% reduction in littered butts as a result of implementing the program.

“There is a real need to change smokers littering behavior and raise awareness about the environmental impact.” Said BID president, Patty Brosmer. “Cigarette litter is not only unsightly and costly to clean up, but also harmful to waterways and wildlife. Simple actions like installing ash receptacles and distributing pocket ashtrays will make a big difference in decreasing litter and ultimately keeping Capitol Hill beautiful.”

Cigarette butts are the most-littered item in America, representing nearly 30 percent of all items documented in nationwide clean-up initiatives.

National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful has field-tested and expanded the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program for the last six years with support from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company.

Information about starting and maintaining a Cigarette Litter Prevention program can be found in the online “Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention.” The Guide can be accessed through Keep America Beautiful’s website www.kab.org or directly at www.preventcigarettelitter.org.