Butting out cigarette litter – Wollongong

Wollongong City Council is renewing its effort to eliminate cigarette litter, with the launch of its educational No Butts Trail and the installation of 30 new cigarette butt bins.

The 30 new bins will be installed across 10 waterside locations, from Stanwell Park Reserve, to the Windang Bridge. The locations are recognised community hotspots for traffic and cigarette use, and the installation of bins will provide options for smokers to dispose of butts correctly and safely.

“These new bins set an expectation that smokers will now dispose of their cigarette butts correctly. We shouldn’t have to do this but unfortunately smoking is still prevalent. Council doesn’t condone smoking but it’s in the interests of our environment to install these bins,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.

“It is unacceptable to treat our community open spaces as a personal ashtray. Tossing butts on pathways, into gardens or dropping them at the base of trees is disgusting behaviour.”

Council is supporting the installation of the bins these school holidays and throughout April with a No Butts Trail campaign. The trail consists of eight temporary chalk art installations, delivered by Zest International, in high profile locations across Wollongong.

This project has been delivered in partnership with the NSW Environment Protection Authority, Waste Less Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.

At the same time Council will be running a No Butts trail competition alongside pop-up visits of Council’s education trailer aimed at raising awareness of cigarette butt litter and supporting an effort to change public behaviour.

Community members are encouraged to enter the competition by completing a questionnaire on the chalk works, with each piece drawing attention to cigarette waste and correct disposal in a unique way. There are eight separate locations to find, with details on their location and an entry form available on Council’s website [wollongong.nsw.gov.au/no-butts-trail] or residents can pick up or drop off an entry form at their local library.

“Cigarette butts are small but their long-term impact on our community is a large one,” Cr Bradbery said.

“Keeping butts out of our environment is a simple thing to do but can make a big difference to the quality of our outdoor spaces, beaches and waterways and general health of our environment.”

According to the National Litter Index, cigarettes are the most littered item in NSW. Once littered, butts have only to travel a short distance in these locations to be washed into our stormwater drains and water ways where they can leach toxic chemicals into our environment or be mistaken for food by marine creatures with often deadly consequences.

“It’s important that we have the infrastructure in place that allows smokers to dispose of their butts correctly. It also serves as a visual reminder to do the right thing. These bins are in place not to encourage smoking, but to set the expectation that cigarette waste should be disposed of responsibly,” Cr Bradbery said.

Keep an eye on the City of Wollongong Facebook page as we’ll be sharing images of the No Butt trail chalk artworks over the next month.

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