Cannock Chase Council has joined forces with environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy to launch #BintheButt to stamp out cigarette litter, which causes significant damage to marine life.
The Council is calling on smokers to rethink how they dispose of their cigarettes, as research reveals that only half (53%) of Brits know that cigarette butts get washed into the sea if they are dropped down the drain.
The campaign ‘Flicking Blue Murder’ will be rolled out across the District to tackle this problem. Promotional material including posters, beermats, outdoor banners and digital advertising will be displayed in local pubs, schools, parks and town centres.
Local pubs will also be offered additional wall mounted ashtrays to encourage smokers to bin their butts rather than simply flicking them on the ground.
In addition to this, the Council has installed a ballot bin in Cannock town centre to tackle the problem of cigarette butt littering with further ballot bins being installed in Hednesford and Rugeley town centres in the coming weeks.
The ballot bins will display a question and two answers. Smokers vote by putting their cigarette butt in the slot underneath their preferred answer. The litter stacks up behind the clear glass columns showing which answer is the most popular.
It is hoped by using interactive and gamification it will bring about positive behaviour change towards the environment. This has been supported by an independent evaluation which shows that using the ballot bin approach reduces littering of cigarette butts by 46% in the surrounding area.
Dropped cigarette butts are the most common form of littering, and just under four in ten (39%) smokers admit to throwing a cigarette butt down a drain within the last month. However, one in ten (11%) do not consider cigarette butts to be litter.
Councillor John Preece, Environment Leader for Cannock Chase Council said: “We are delighted to be supporting Keep Britain Tidy with this campaign. As the research suggests, cigarette butts are the most common form of litter that are dropped onto our streets everyday.
“By launching this campaign, it is hoped smokers with be encouraged to #BinTheButt and stop the flow of plastic, toxic cigarette butts getting into our rivers and oceans and potentially killing our marine wildlife”.
Allison Ogden-Newton, CEO for Keep Britain Tidy said: “Following Sir David Attenborough’s rallying cry to reduce plastic waste on Blue Planet 2, #BinTheButt aims to show how simple everyday behavior can affect the environment.
“While flicking a cigarette down the drain may not seem harmful, we need to ensure smokers understand that this has a direct and often drastic impact on wildlife.
“Our research showed that more than a fifth (22%) of Brits thought putting a cigarette down the drain was acceptable, which rose sharply to over (52%) among smokers who smoke everyday. We need to challenge this view, and get the message to smokers that this is still littering”.
For more information about this campaign and how you can support it, visit www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk/binthebutt