Information provided by Dan Baxter, Assistant Recycling Coordinator, Business – City of Newport News, Recovery Operations Center
The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program has been a program through Keep America Beautiful. Keep Virginia Beautiful our Litter Control and Recycling team at the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC)’s www.askhrgreen.org and locally through us in Newport News Public Works Department have been the conduit for local support of this program. We have been doing projects in Newport News for the past 10 plus years.
During the recently published Litter Study from Keep America Beautiful on litter nationwide, here are a couple of Pull Quotes:
“Nearly 50 billion pieces of litter picked up along United States roadways and waterways.”
“Cigarette butts continue to be the single most littered item in the United States, even though cigarette butt litter has declined dramatically since 2009.”
This study is being used by the EPA as a resource for our Trash Free Waters initiative. This has been useful in explaining the impact of the issue to management and the public in the Mid-Atlantic region.
In the City of Newport News, I have been working with local businesses churches, the Boy Scouts and civic groups to distribute pocket and car ash trays to bring awareness to the issue and provide smokers an alternative method of disposal to throwing them on our streets and sidewalks. Businesses have been very supportive of the initiatives and help we have been providing. We are currently seeking grants from Keep America Beautiful and Keep Virginia Beautiful for more supplies.
This year, as a region we borrowed an idea from Wayne Jones, Recycling and Litter Prevention Coordinator for the City of Suffolk and made “Big Butts” props to bring awareness to the issue. We in Public Works borrowed the original props and used them throughout the city in February for Photo Ops.
The initiative this year officially rolled out on May 1st and is going to be ongoing. Signs produced through the HRPDC stating “No Butts About It” and a little fact with the sign. The sign is readable for pedestrians but less so for drivers, so we are concentrating on using the signs where there is foot traffic (Building/business entrances and park lot areas).