Consider This: Cigarette Butts Are Litter Too - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Consider This: Cigarette Butts Are Litter Too

Do you know what makes up approximately 30 percent of all litter?  It's not plastic bags or fast food wrappers. In a recent survey, 31.4 percent of all items picked up during an international cleanup were cigarettes.

We've commented on them here before; cigarette butts are a common sight on roadsides, intersections, sidewalks, beaches, and even schoolyards and playgrounds. 

Discarded butts pose a hazard to wildlife and small children who might ingest them, and they carry toxins to our streams and waterways. They also contribute to an overall appearance of un-cleanliness, an undesired characteristic for a thriving community.

Well, now smokers on downtown Wilmington streets have no excuse for dropping their butts on the sidewalk. Thanks to Keep America Beautiful of New Hanover County and its partners the City of Wilmington, Wilmington Downtown, Inc., and Residents of Old Wilmington, 18 ashtrays have been installed on Front Street between Princess and Dock in a pilot program to test their effectiveness in solving the cigarette litter problem.

They're also distributing these signs to local businesses, and coasters to downtown bars and restaurants, to remind people that cigarette butts are litter too. If the program is successful, and early indications are that it's significantly reducing cigarette litter already, the city will expand the program to all of downtown.

For more information about the program, you can e-mail Jennifer O'Keefe, Executive Director of Keep America Beautiful of New Hanover County (, or log on to and click on Keep America Beautiful. Be a part of the solution. It's everyone's job to keep our towns and the rest of America beautiful!

That's what we think. Tell us what you think.

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