Sixty five percent of all cigarette butts are littered. Butts compose a third of litter on roadways. Keep Mississippi Beautiful is actively working to reduce cigarette litter in public places.
This past year, KMB worked with Mississippi Department of Transportation and local affiliates to launch a project through Keep America Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program to reduce cigarette butt litter at four welcome centers. KMB selected busy welcome centers with litter problems.
KAB data show that one of the best predictors for cigarette litter is whether a receptacle for butts is present. Receptacles were placed near the entrance of the welcome center. Additionally, the grant paid for tent cards and signage for inside restrooms and in flowerbeds.
MDOT staff said cigarette butts are frequently thrown in flowerbeds, so these signs served as a reminder to dispose of butts responsibly. During peak tourist season, KMB staff also handed out butt cups and literature, trying to educate people as they visited the welcome centers. Information for materials came from KAB’s CLPP.
KMB has already witnessed a decline in cigarette litter. At one welcome center, cigarette butt litter decreased by about 60 percent. This reduction is attributed to the presence of receptacles. With receptacles present now at these welcome centers, early scans for butts show a big drop.