What is it?
“That’s Your Butt!” is a multi-part cigarette butt litter prevention campaign implemented by North Broad Renaissance (NBR) to reduce the detrimental economic and environmental impacts of cigarette litter. Tobacco litter represents nearly 34.4% percent of all litter in outdoor recreation areas, and 95% of cigarette filters are composed of a form of plastic that doesn’t quickly degrade and can be harmful to wildlife. “That’s Your Butt!” uses a specific set of strategies to reduce cigarette litter while improving citizen awareness of and engagement around the issue.
Why was the program implemented?
- NBR regularly surveys litter conditions along the North Broad corridor, and the data collected through their Litter Index survey shows that cigarette butts are a major contributor to litter along North Broad, according to the 2017 State of North Broad report.
- The area houses one of the unhealthiest zip codes in Philadelphia. The pilot outreach campaign, within the NBR Health Hub (a proposed district along North Broad still between Allegheny Avenue and Germantown Avenue) will create a healthier environment for its residents, a top priority for the organization. A less littered area promotes interaction and healthier lifestyles for residents.
- The campaign promotes a healthier, cleaner environment along North Broad, keeping streets safe, clean, and attractive, and adding to the quality of life of residents and visitors. With this campaign, interactions and activity on the streets will increase, healthy lifestyles will be fostered, and customers will frequent local businesses even more.
How does it work?
The goals of the campaign include improving Litter Index scores, engaging the community on the issue of cigarette litter, shifting behavior to reduce cigarette litter, and monitoring those shifts in behavior over time. In order to tackle the cigarette butt litter problem, NBR is implementing these strategies:
1. Conducting Outreach
The NBR Community Outreach Team will canvass the area to share information and tactics of the Cigarette Litter Prevention campaign and ballot bins. A ballot bin is a “voting system” that allows the user to vote on a predetermined question with their cigarette butt. The questions will be relevant to the NBR’s Health Hub, including polls like: Fruits or veggies? or Do you like the changes you see on North Broad? The bins have glass slots, so passersby can see the standings of the poll. Printed outreach materials will include highlights from their survey, facts about the litter, what to expect from this campaign, and how to get involved. Community members from the neighborhood to help with outreach and to complete door-to-door canvassing to residents. NBR will share information online and on social media for anyone they’ve missed.
2. Adding Cigarette Butt Receptacles to High Traffic Areas
It was found that a majority of cigarette butt litter was found in high traffic areas, like the intersections of Broad and Venango and Broad and Westmoreland. Therefore, ballot bins will be added in these locations. Cigarette litter scans will then be completed in these areas. The scans will allow NBR to compare the amount of cigarette butt litter before and after the receptacles are installed. The receptacles were purchased through a grant provided by Keep Philadelphia Beautiful.
3. Creating a Marketing and PR Campaign Around Appropriate Disposal of Cigarette Butts
For the campaign, NBR will also partner with media and community partners. PSAs, newspapers advertisements, media outreach, and grassroots engagement will all be part of the campaign.
North Broad Renaissance’s budget is $11,990 for the entirety of the campaign.
Lessons Learned and Tips
- Make sure the campaign’s approach is targeted and impactful.
- Be flexible and creative to help you accomplish your goal.
- Sometimes, the funding you anticipated isn’t there, so you have to #ThinkBroad to still accomplish your goals.
“[The campaign] is important to me, but more importantly, it’s important to the community. Creating a clean and safe North Broad, and creating more employment opportunities along the corridor were top areas that the community asked us to focus on. In doing additional research, we realized the two go hand-in-hand. That’s why many of the speaking points in the That’s Your Butt are geared towards economic development. We want to help the community know that litter isn’t just unsightly and unhealthy, but it hurts business attraction, property value and yes, even jobs. Our tagline from the That’s Your Butt campaign is ‘Cigarette butt litter doesn’t just hurt community health, it destroys community wealth – don’t be a butt!’” – Shalimar Thomas, North Broad Executive Director
Who to Get in Touch With
If you are interested in developing a similar program for your own neighborhood, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 267-318-7772 for more information.