‘Butt in’ when you ‘butt out’: City of Vancouver hands out pocket-ashtrays to tackle litter

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The City of Vancouver is hoping a little green box will help cut down the number of cigarette butts that are carelessly thrown away on the street.

It has been handing out pocket-sized ashtrays to smokers to give them a place to hold their butts when they’re done with them, instead of tossing them irresponsibly.

The ashtrays — which kind of look like empty dental floss containers — were handed out to some smokers downtown on Saturday night.

After being posted to social media, many people on Twitter said they support the idea, some even sharing their own experiences of what they do with their finished smokes.

“It’s pretty handy – we stub them out in our shoes then carry them to garbage, mostly,” one Twitter user said of the ashtray. “This would [be] better and treats us as adults instead of pretending we don’t exist. Copenhagen beaches offer these too, with a stand, you just return them to. Fill with sand https://instagram.com/p/Bkx8W1rFC5x/.”

“I’m a terrible smoker, I have never bought things like that, lol,” another tweeted. “But definitely cool they were handing them out.”

One smoker in Vancouver even went as far as saying the idea is innovative.

“I think it really lets the smoker be accountable for their own stuff,” she told CityNews Sunday morning.

Meantime, others weren’t quite as enthralled with the idea.

“If they haven’t been smoking responsibly (is there such a thing?) then a free container is just going to end up in the landfill,” one Twitter user said.

“More plastic that will get tossed in the gardens, oceans, forest. Great,” another wrote.

Many have questioned where the funding for these little plastic containers is coming from, one person on social media saying “Sad that the city has to use tax payer money to try and get smokers to be responsible. Pathetic really.”

Others ask why smokers can’t just put their butts back into their cigarette packages until they can be properly disposed of.

As of Sunday afternoon, the City of Vancouver was unable to find someone available for comment on this program.

It launched a cigarette butt collection and recycling program back in 2013 in an effort to keep streets clean, as part of its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan.

The pilot project, which the city claims was the first of its kind in the world, saw more than 100 cigarette recycling containers installed on several blocks of the downtown core.

Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item, the city says.

-With files from CityNews Vancouver

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