I live in a brand new lovely apartment complex. My neighbor who smokes was constantly flicking his cigarette onto the grass area next to the path. After weeks of picking them up myself, I started to collect them in a bag. I started to get tired of this so one day I wrote a note that said “Hi neighbor, please stop throwing your cigarette butts on the ground. We all have to live here so let us try to keep it as nice as possible”. Well, that took care of that problem b/c I have not seen any more after that from him.
— Jeannie Callanan, Charleston, SC
Our effort can only be successful with broad, grassroots support from the mainstream public. There are many ways to take action on your own and many ways to get involved with CigaretteLitter.Org. Here are some things you can do on your own:
- Most importantly, if you smoke, PLEASE DON’T LITTER.
- If you have friends, co-workers, relatives, or neighbors who litter cigarettes, let them know how you feel. Direct them to this website for more information. For situations where direct communication is awkward, use our anonymous e-mail feature.
- If you see someone litter their cigarette, try to communicate your feelings to them in a non-confrontational way. One way to do that is to pick up their cigarette and dispose of it for them so that they get the message that their action was not appropriate. Another way is to just say how you feel. Do whatever is comfortable for you, but try not to let the incident go unchecked. When someone litters in full view of lots of people and no one says anything, it is easy for that person to assume that their action is normal and appropriate.
- Write letters to the editors of newspapers and magazines expressing your views. Mention this site as a reference. The more people who litter their cigarettes see that people do care, the more likely they are to reconsider their actions.
- Write letters to the local government, law enforcement, and fire safety officials asking them to take a more active role in the issue. Just about every community has an ordinance prohibiting litter, including cigarettes. Unfortunately, these ordinances are not enforced as often as they could be.
- Organize a local clean up dedicated to cigarette litter or to litter clean-up in general and count the number of cigarettes picked up. Be on the lookout for local clean-ups and volunteer to be in charge of cigarette butts. Anything to raise awareness of the issue helps.
- Call the 1-800 product hotlines of cigarette manufacturers and ask that they implement environmentally friendly packaging for their product. Ask that they help educate consumers that cigarettes are not truly biodegradable, that they cause fires, and that they are toxic to water sources.
- When you shop somewhere that sells cigarettes, ask to speak with the manager and ask the store to implement a cigarette litter awareness and reduction program. Anything from a sign, to selling cigarette disposal products along with cigarettes is a step in the right direction.
Here are some ways you can participate directly with CigaretteLitter.org:
- Make a financial contribution!
- Volunteer. Because CigaretteLitter.Org currently has no paid staff, we need help in all shapes and sizes. Are you a professional who can donate expertise (e.g. legal, accounting, marketing, production, etc.)? Would you like to answer phone calls and e-mail and provide information to interested parties about CigaretteLitter.Org? Is there another way you think you could help? Please let us know!
- Start a local chapter. This kind of effort works best at the grassroots level. Would you like to start a chapter in your community?