NI Charity works with Council to tackle cigarette litter
Thursday 9 March 2023
Environmental charity Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful is working in collaboration with Mid & East Antrim Borough Council to provide dedicated cigarette butt bins in the Council area.
Installed in October 2022, the bins are sited in four locations: Springwell Road Car Park Ballymena; Town Hall and Main Street Larne and the Marine Car Park in Carrickfergus. The project, which is funded by the Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs’ (DAERA), is to helping the Council deliver on its environmental policy and strategy.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams comments “We are delighted to have secured new cigarette ballot boxes for our Borough. We are aware of the ongoing issue of littering, particularly single-use plastic litter and welcome the collaborative approach in raising awareness, educating the public and putting in place interventions to reduce this type of pollution.”
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful hope the roll out of the ballot bins will help reduce the problem of plastic pollution in NI. The environmental charity recently published the ‘Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report 2021” which showed that the most abundant type of litter recorded was cigarette related, in particular cigarette butts. In 2021 65% of all transects surveyed had some form of cigarette litter present. This is an unsightly form of litter that often grows exponentially. As more cigarette butts are discarded, it appears to ‘signal’ to smokers that this is acceptable. Cigarette butts are difficult for litter pickers to collect, and they are made from cellulose acetate, a type of plastic that takes at least 13 years to break down.
Chris Gourley from Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful said:
“The cigarette ballot bins are a fun way to encourage smokers to dispose of their litter properly. Most people aren’t aware that the plastic cigarette butts release dangerous chemicals, such as arsenic and lead, into the environment. The bins are proving to be a useful tool in our efforts to tackle plastic waste as well as adding a bit of social engagement.”
Each of these new ballot bins displays a question and two answers to encourage smokers to dispose of cigarette butts responsibly. Smokers vote by putting their cigarette butt in the slot underneath their chosen answer. Cigarette butts will stack up behind the clear glass front in two columns displaying which answer is more popular. Bin creator Hubbub claims the clever incentive has proven to reduce cigarette butt litter by up 46%.
Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful has plans for more of these ballot bins throughout N. Ireland and as part of this they want to encourage individuals to make a commitment now to reduce pointless single-use plastic such as bottles, bags and synthetic textiles by signing a ‘Plastic Promise’. Visit the Plastic Promise page on the Live Here Love Here website to find out more and do your bit.