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Keep America Beautiful® Steps up Efforts to Reduce Cigarette Litter

Submitted by: Keep America Beautiful

Categories: Environment

Posted: Mar 08, 2006 – 11:00 PM EST

 

-- Reducing Nation's Most-Littered Item a Priority --

Mar. 08 /CSRwire/ - STAMFORD, Conn.- Intensifying its efforts to combat one of America's largest and most persistent litter problems through education and action, Keep America Beautiful® announced today the expansion of its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.

"Cigarette butts are the most-littered item in America, representing nearly 30 percent of all items documented in our clean-up initiatives," said Keep America Beautiful President G. Raymond Empson. "Aggressively addressing this growing problem is essential to our organization's mission of improving communities through litter prevention, waste reduction, and beautification. We're looking forward to expanding our Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2006."

Keep America Beautiful's Cigarette Litter Prevention Program has been developed and tested over the past four years, reducing cigarette litter by as much as 46 percent in its first phase of pilot studies. The program's strategic approach involves all stakeholders in the cigarette litter problem including businesses, law enforcement, local governments, community organizations and, importantly, smokers themselves. Since September 2005, a CD-ROM Guide to the program has been available free of charge through the organization's Web site (www.kab.org).

The intensified efforts will include significant public awareness advertising by Keep America Beautiful. Research conducted during the development of the program indicated a fundamental awareness problem; many smokers do not consider tossing cigarette butts to be a form of littering. Many smokers and non-smokers alike believe that the butts are biodegradable. In fact, the filter is made of cellulose acetate - a plastic that does not easily degrade under normal conditions.

The expanded efforts will also provide additional resources for communities that implement the program, and will refine the program to include solutions for parks, beaches and recreation areas. Ongoing funding for the program and for its expansion is made possible by a grant from Philip Morris USA, a long-standing supporter of Keep America Beautiful.

Despite their small size, cigarette butts present communities with big problems. Not only are they an eyesore, but they are a significant fire hazard, dangerous to children and wildlife, and expensive to clean from municipal storm water filters where they collect after a rainfall. Mayors and community leaders nationwide have been increasingly seeking solutions to this litter issue. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program addresses the issue by integrating four proven approaches: enforcing litter laws that include cigarette litter; raising awareness about the issue using public service messages; placement of ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings or transit; and distribution of pocket ashtrays.

"Keep America Beautiful wants every community in America to reduce the impact of cigarette litter," said Empson. "We're encouraged by the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program's initial successes, and we look forward to realizing them on a larger and more significant scale."

About Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. With a network of nearly 1,000 affiliate and participating organizations, Keep America Beautiful forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. For additional information, visit www.kab.org.

Information about starting and maintaining a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in your community can be found on the CD-ROM "Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention." The Guide can be ordered through Keep America Beautiful's website (www.kab.org), or by visiting www.preventcigarettelitter.org.

For more information, please contact:

Phone: 203.323.8987 x811
Larry Kaufman Keep America Beautiful
Phone: 203.323.8987 x817

For more from this organization:

Keep America Beautiful

 

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