Main Street project proves cigarette butt litter can be reduced

There’s an interesting project over on Main Street. MainCor is trying to figure out if it can reduce litter by reducing the number of cigarette butts that get tossed. They’re doing public education and putting these receptacles outside places that get heavy traffic. Six weeks into the program they’re reporting a 70 percent decrease in butts tossed onto the street.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in America, but a project on Main Street suggests this type of litter can be controlled.  MainCor (the Main Street Corridor Development Corporation) says it found a 70 percent reduction in cigarette butt litter at targeted locations along the Main Street Corridor. MainCor is participating in the  Keep America Beautiful® Cigarette Litter Prevention Program for the third year.

“Cigarette butt litter is something that few people think about when they toss what’s left of their cigarettes to the ground.  As a result, the area becomes full of cigarette butts, and it makes the area look uncared for,” said project leader, Morgan Gardner, said in a press release.   “After only six weeks, we are already seeing huge results.   Using this program will bring attention to the issue, and we expect to see similar reductions throughout Kansas City.”

MainCor actually counted littered cigarette butts along Main Street in the targeted area from 31st Street to 44th Street. It found that in the six weeks since it began its public awareness program, 70 percent fewer butts ended up on the streets. MainCor has provided public education; handed out free pocket ashtrays; and put cigarette ash receptacles outside of bars, entertainment venues, gas stations, and fast-food restaurants that were known for heavy littering.

MainCor’s research shows that transition points,  like bus stops, retail and office buildings and benches, attract the most cigarette litter. These are places, Gardner says, “where people must stop smoking before proceeding.”

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