Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Keep PA Beautiful Reports 92% Reduction of Cigarette Litter In Participating State Parks

Armed with a $10,000 Keep America Beautiful
Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful collaborated with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources in 2019 to reduce the number of cigarette butts carelessly left behind in four state parks: Benjamin Rush, Nockamixon, Ridley Creek and Tyler. 

Over the course of a year, the parks had a combined cigarette litter reduction rate of 92 percent.

The CLPP program begins with a scan, or physical count, of cigarette butts and other tobacco related products. Ash receptacles are then installed at points of entry, like entrances to public buildings, and portable ashtrays are distributed to smokers who visit the parks. 

In addition, the state parks agree to encourage the enforcement of litter laws, which includes cigarette litter, and educate visitors about the consequences of cigarette and other tobacco related litter. 

Two other scans are performed, one midway through the year and a final count at the end of the program. 

‘We are 100 percent glad to be a part of this program!  We notice a drastic reduction in cigarette litter in the areas that receptacles are placed, and we offer the pocket ashtrays out of our park office,” said Robert Sweeney, Assistant Park Manager at Nockamixon State Park. 

According to Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s 2019 Pennsylvania Litter Research Study, over 500 million pieces of litter were found on Pennsylvania’s roadways. Of the total estimated litter, 186.2 million or 37.1 percent were cigarette butts.  

Cigarette butts that are thrown on the ground can contaminate soil and ground water with chemicals and heavy metals; fatally impact birds, animals and marine life who often mistake them for food; and the filters, made of cellulose acetate, never fully disappear from the environment. 

“We can help change littering behaviors through education and convenient access to ash receptacles through the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. We’re grateful to Keep America Beautiful for the funding that allows us to continue to invest in this highly effective program.”

Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful received additional funding of $20,000 this year to continue their work in state parks including: Cook Forest, Clear Creek, Chapman, Reeds Gap, Fort Washington, Evansburg, Jacobsburg, Tobyhanna, Canoe Creek, Colonel Denning and Pine Grove Furnace.

“With our smoke-free beach program now in place at most of our state park waterfront operations, we are seeing a more than 95 percent reduction in cigarette litter in these specific areas,” said DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn. “However, this type of cleanup still diverts park personnel from much more meaningful tasks they could be addressing. We welcome Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s continuing support in combating this problem.”    

This year, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and participating parks have partnered with Terracylce to expand the program to include recycling and composting of the cigarette butt waste. 

Cigarettes collected at the state parks will be shipped to Terracycle where the various materials that make up a cigarette are separated and processed. 

The filters will be melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled industrial products, such as plastic pallets. The residual tobacco and paper will be separated out and composted in a specialized process.

The CLPP, created by Keep America Beautiful in 2002, is the nation's largest program aimed at eliminating cigarette butt and cigar tip litter. 

Since its inception, the program has been successfully implemented in more than 1,800 urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide. 

Over the past decade, participating communities have consistently cut cigarette butt litter by 50 percent based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after program implementation. Learn more at kab.org

For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful website. Click Here to become a member.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from KPB, Like them on Facebook, Follow on Twitter, Discover them on Pinterest and visit their YouTube Channel.

Also visit the Illegal Dump Free PA website for more ideas on how to clean up communities and keep them clean and KPB’s Electronics Waste website.

The  2020 Pick Up Pennsylvania Initiative is postponed until September 1 through November 30.  Questions should be directed to Michelle Dunn at 1-877-772-3673 Ext. 113 or send email to: mdunn@keeppabeautiful.org.

Keep PA Beautiful helps mobilize over 100,000 volunteers a year to pick up litter, clean up illegal dumping and beautify Pennsylvania.

[Posted: November 17, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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