Mayor Gavin Buckley announced a public education campaign to encourage the disposal of cigarette butts in appropriate receptacles over the weekend. The campaign is important because cigarette butts pose a threat to area waterways. Cigarette litter contains toxic plastic that does not biodegrade and looks like food to wildlife.
Over the next month, residents of Annapolis will see cigarette butt receptacles around town that carry the following messages:
- Cigarette butts are not only unsightly litter, but with every rainfall, they wash into storm drains, ending up in our creeks, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay;
- Cigarette butts are made of plastic so they are not biodegradable; they break up into microscopic pieces that marine life and birds mistake for food; and
- Cigarette butts are designed to absorb toxic chemicals from entering smokers’ lungs so they are packed with toxins that are harmful to land-based wildlife like birds and marine life.
“We want our city to be clean and beautiful,” said Mayor Buckley, “and we want our residents and visitors who choose to smoke to do the right thing by our environment. We’re providing receptacles to collect the butts to keep them out of the Bay.”
The cigarette butts in the receptacles will be sent to TerraCycle to recover their plastic content that will be recycled into other products.
Smokers will be offered individual pocket ashtrays and cup-holder size ashtrays to encourage them to hang on to their butts until a proper receptacle is in sight along with educational handouts.
The campaign is funded by a grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and carried out by local environmental nonprofit Annapolis Green.
The campaign is part of the City’s continuing efforts to create a Plastic-Free Annapolis.