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Keep Liberty Beautiful: Don’t flick it! Cigarette butts are litter, too
Cigarette litter prevention

By Dr. Karen Bell, Keep Liberty Beautiful.

Cigarette litter is nasty and unnecessary. So, join us in the next few weeks as we remind local smokers, “Don’t flick it!” Dispose of your cigarette litter responsibly.

Workers who maintain public venues like parking lots, streets and parks and local business owners are far too often the ones who must clean up cigarette litter dumped on the ground in our community. Unfortunately, this cleanup is a daily process in business districts on our roads and sidewalks. We can assure you that the workers and volunteers that clean up after smokers have plenty of other things that they could be doing. There is also a high cost in providing that cleanup to ensure these areas around shopping and other business sites remain clean and attractive. That cost for this maintenance is passed on to you as the customer.

Slowly, more and more receptacles specifically for cigarette trash are showing up in public areas. So, you would think that we would see less cigarette litter. Unfortunately, this type of litter is still the most prevalent litter in the United States and the rest of the world. (Keep Liberty Beautiful has free wall or stand-alone receptacles available for any business that needs one.)

Our goal always is to remind local smokers that cigarette trash is litter when they flick it on the ground. We also want to highlight the appropriate opportunities for taking care of these cigarette butts responsibly.

We think most smokers litter this type of garbage because they have never considered the consequences of tossing these butts on the ground.

Those butts really add up!

Every year, at least one cleanup volunteer who happens to be a smoker will share their shock at the number of cigarette butts on the ground.

In the last 16 years, we have had several local groups participate in cigarette litter awareness programs at different sites around our county. Some of the areas that have been targeted in these programs are downtown Hinesville, local historic and tourism sites and streets, and some of the busiest gates into Fort Stewart.

It is tedious to pick up cigarette litter. Still, it is even more boring to count cigarette litter, as volunteer groups do on their litter scan days! Litter scans help us determine if the awareness, receptacles and ashtrays provided in these areas reduce the amount of cigarette waste ending up on the roads and sidewalks.

The KLB program’s Liberty County Proud and Beautiful is a recycling initiative to promote awareness and reduce cigarette litter in Liberty County and Fort Stewart.

“Because cigarette butts are so small, some people do not think they are littering. By working with volunteers throughout Liberty County to conduct cleanups and recycle the cigarette butts, it brings awareness to the cigarette litter prevention program,” said Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Dr. Karen Bell.

Recycling collected cigarette butts is easy. Simply empty the contents of your cigarette receptacle or butts collected during a cleanup into a re-sealable plastic bag, disposable plastic container, plastic shopping bag or garbage bag. Please make sure that the cigarettes are fully extinguished.

Do not dump your cigarette waste directly into the shipping box, and do not use paper bags or envelopes to collect your waste. Pack up your collection with a free shipping label provided by Keep Liberty Beautiful and drop it off at a UPS location, or contact KLB to arrange for it to be picked up.

All of our roads and streets should be cigarette litter-free. The ground is NOT an appropriate dumping site for cigarette butts. Dropping cigarette butts in planters or down storm drains, or disposing of them in waterways is littering, too!

Ultimately, it is up to you, local smokers. Make an effort to dispose of cigarette litter and all litter responsibly in a garbage can or ash receptacle.

Please, not on the ground! Be an environmentally responsible smoker. Don’t flick it!

For more information, give Keep Liberty Beautiful a call at 912.880.4888 or email us at

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