Butt Free Byron Shire campaign wins NSW award


Byron Shire Council’s Butt Free Byron Shire campaign has won a NSW Local Government Excellence in the Environment Award for Community Waste Services.

The campaign aims to reduce litter in the Byron Shire, with a focus on cigarette butts, and has been hugely successful with a 78 percent reduction in cigarette butt litter over 12 months.

Kate Akkerman, Council’s Waste Education and Compliance Officer, said the Butt Free Byron Shire campaign was a team effort involving Positive Change for Marine Life, Byron Bay life guards, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the NSW Department of Primary Industries North East Waste and Reflections Holiday Parks.

“This award is not just Council’s award – it belongs to all our partners, especially Positive Change for Marine Life, which, for 12 months, coordinated monthly data collection at litter hotspots around the Byron Shire,” Ms Akkerman said.

“This was a multi-faceted campaign that was only achievable because Council received funding of $100,000 from the NSW Environment Protection Authority Litter Prevention Grant under their Waste Less, Recycle More, program,” she said.

“The Butt Free Byron Shire campaign involved the installation of 123 Enviropole butt bins in the Byron Shire, the implementation of a smoking ban on our beaches, and an increase in litter enforcement with staff talking to people about the smoking ban and the fact that 82 percent of litter in our Shire is cigarette related. This additional cigarette butt litter infrastructure and enforcement was accompanied by an extensive community education campaign.

“We also partnered with local community groups to promote educational messages on the effect of micro-litter on the Cape Marine Park, especially on marine life,” Ms Akkerman said.

The results of the Butt Free Byron Shire campaign included:

  • A 78% decrease in the number of cigarette butts in the Shire
  • A 31% decrease in volume of overall litter.

“We have received incredibly positive feedback from the impact of our quirky anti-litter signs on the beaches which are put out with the help of lifeguards,” Ms Akkerman said.

“To win this Excellence in the Environment Award is recognition of a great community effort that has united different groups and agencies in the community,” Ms Akkerman said.

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