Sick of Seeing Cigarette Butts on the Ground, Cities Get Creative

It’s the most littered item in the U.S. -- but it might not be if more places adopted this approach.
by | September 2016
(Alliance for the Great Lakes)

Which is the best Chicago baseball team: Cubs or Sox? Which do you prefer: Chicago dog or deep dish pizza? Toilet paper roll direction: under or over? These are just a few of the questions smokers along Chicago’s beaches are being asked this summer. In an attempt to keep its sidewalks and beaches clean, the city has partnered with the Alliance for the Great Lakes to pilot voting-style cigarette butt bins. The receptacles feature two deposit slots, each with a question. Smokers vote by putting their cigarette butts into one of the two compartments. The receptacles each hold approximately 400 to 600 cigarette butts, which are eventually recycled. Despite a 2007 smoking ban at Chicago beaches, cigarette butt litter remains a problem. In fact, even though smoking is on the decline nationwide, cigarette butts are still the most littered item in the U.S. The playful anti-littering campaign isn’t the first: The idea actually originated in London, and Boston adopted it this spring.