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Businesses provided with free bins to tackle issue of cigarette butt litter

FACET, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting businesses in the tourism and leisure sector to make cost-effective changes that are better for the environment, has funded more than 10 so-called Ballot Bins for the disposal of cigarette butts.

A photo of a cigarette Ballot Bin in use with the question: who is the greatest, Ronaldo or Messi?

The ballot bins are so-called, because they have a question on them, providing people with the ability to 'vote' on which side of the bin they dispose of their cigarette butt.

The bins are placed in the smoking areas of local pubs and restaurants to provide people with a convenient and safe place to dispose of cigarettes. The Ballot Bins are made of sturdy materials and are designed to prevent cigarettes from being blown away and creating litter problems. They are also large enough to accommodate a full pack of cigarettes.

The scheme is just one in a series of initiatives FACET has undertaken to help create a more sustainable tourism sector, an Interreg 2 Seas project in conjunction with Norfolk County Council. Other projects that are part of the programme include:

  • Encouraging recycling with new bins for plastic, glass bottles and cans
  • The successful launch of the Hemsby Cup scheme to help put an end to single-use disposable takeaway cups in time for the busy summer season
  • The introduction of on-the-go recycling bins in Great Yarmouth and Gorleston
  • Increased litter bin capacity along Great Yarmouth seafront
  • Upcoming installations of three sculptural 'BottleShip' drop-off recycling bins across the borough
  • New Community Fridges in Great Yarmouth and Hemsby, where local food businesses and individuals can donate 'in-date' items for free redistribution to the community to reduce food waste

Councillor Paul Wells, chair of Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Environment Committee, said: "Cigarette butts are one of the most common forms of litter and they can be harmful to the environment.

"These Ballot Bins will help reduce the number of cigarette butts that litter our community."

Andy Stubbings at the Pub on the Shrubs has been using a Ballot Bin for 6 months and said: "My wife and I would have many discussions about the pile of cigarette butts outside the Pub front door, especially after a busy weekend and despite a cigarette bin being present.

"When I heard about a ballot bin through the FACET scheme I thought we should give it a try. Once we had put it in the best location, I asked customers what the best ballot question would be to engage with smokers and get them to put their butts in the bin.

"The result was almost immediate with the number of butts on the floor typically dropping from twenty to just one or two. I recommend any organisation try this solution as it provides a bit of fun for users while solving an age-old problem."

Research by Keep Britain Tidy found that dropped cigarette butts are the most common form of littering, found on 79 per cent of the 7,200 sites surveyed as part of its recent Local Environment Quality Survey of England.

As well as plastic, cigarette filters are comprised of thousands of chemical ingredients, including arsenic, lead and nicotine, all of which can leak into marine environments. According to studies, just one cigarette butt per litre of water is highly toxic to fish.

The FACET (Facilitate the Adoption of Circular Entrepreneurship in the Tourism and Leisure Sector), project is a €3.8mEU Interreg 2 Seas project, which aims to encourage adoption of circular economy solutions in the tourism industry through multiple channels including gamification and behavioural change. The FACET project is delivered by Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Norfolk County Council.

Last modified on 31 January 2024

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