How many times a day do you see someone flicking a cigarette butt in the street or down a stormwater drain? Given that cigarettes are the most littered item in the United States and across the globe, we bet the answer is an awful lot.
That’s why in 2017, Keep Philadelphia Beautiful (KPB) and the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet teamed up to provide microgrants to neighborhood based organizations to purchase and install receptacles specifically designed to capture cigarette litter. Fishtown Neighbors Association, the People’s Emergency Center, Chinatown Community Development Corporation, and Mayfair Community Development Corporation all received funding to not only install new anti-litter infrastructure in their communities, but to build upon existing education efforts connecting litter to its various detrimental impacts on our neighborhoods and environment.
And best yet, our micrograntees worked with local green business Terracycle to recycle the cigarette butts collected into items such as plastic pallets — in support of the City’s bold Zero Waste goal.
This year, KPB and the Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet have tripled our funding to expand this effort; we’re excited to be able to provide seven communities with seed funding to combat cigarette litter. Our hope and expectation is to see a substantial decrease in cigarette litter in our target neighborhoods and to continue working in partnership with on-the-ground leaders to make cigarette litter a thing of the past in Philadelphia. If we can accomplish that, we’ll have made a key stride towards becoming a litter-free city.
So the next time you’re in Fishtown or West Philly, or head up to Mayfair or through Chinatown, see if you can spot new cigarette butt receptacles and tweet at us (@beautifulPHL and @cleanPHL) to let us know!