Blitz to pick up cigarette butts

Blitz to pick up cigarette butts

Vernon joins worldwide event to rid streets of filthy butts

A buttload of little polluters littering Vernon’s streets is destined for a greener future Saturday.

As part of a worldwide effort to rid the environment of harmful cigarette butts, the fourth annual Butt Blitz will get underway. The Vernon event will start at 11 a.m. across from the Greyhound Station at Cenotaph Park, hosted by volunteer co-ordinators Jack Elliman and Sarah Armstrong.

“We are asking the community to come help pick butts with us. There are a buttload of dirty stinky butts polluting our environment around Vernon and we have to do something about it and bring awareness to the subject,” says Elliman, local coordinator.

“Cigarette butts are the most littered item worldwide, an estimated 4.95 trillion worldwide annually. They end up costing the taxpayer millions fighting wildfires, not to mention the costs of clean up efforts. They poison fish, birds, and children, and each butt can contaminate 40 litres of water with a plethora of delights such as arsenic, heavy metals, and other carcinogens.”

That’s why environmental non-profit A Greener Future has stepped up to rid communities of cigarette butt litter and will be sending the butts collected to be recycled instead of going to landfill. The Ontario-based organization cleans up communities across Canada through an annual Butt Blitz program by enlisting local volunteers to spend a few hours picking up littered cigarette butts. Not only are communities being cleaned of litter, but this difficult-to-recycle waste is sent to TerraCycle, a Toronto-based company that recycles materials not typically accepted at municipal facilities. Last year volunteers picked up 7,587 cigarette butts in Vernon, adding to the grand total of 433,169 butts ( approximately 36 lbs ) over the past three annual events worldwide.

“The work and support of Butt Blitz coordinators and volunteers are so beneficial to the communities they serve,” said Rochelle Byrne, A Greener Future executive director and founder. “Cigarette butts are highly toxic especially when they come in contact with water. They threaten the health of wildlife and contaminate our own drinking water. Removing littered butts from the local environment has so many benefits and is easy to achieve with the collective impact of the Butt Blitz.”

The Vernon event, which goes until 2 p.m., will have gloves and bags provided (but feel free to bring old kitchen tongs or other garbage picking tools for easy butt picking).

“The fun will begin at 11 a.m., there will be music, probably some silly dancing while picking up butts, and competitions with prizes for who has the best squat and reach, most butts touched, and most-valuable rookie. The party will then move around Vernon to major smoking locations,” said Elliman, adding that those showing up late can contact him at 250-938-4202 to find out where they are.

“Feel free to wear funny costumes, but be sure to dress for the weather. There will be good people, good music, and good times.

Elliman, the owner/founder of Pocket Ashtray — a re-usable pouch for smokers to discard their butts in — will also be giving away free product to help prevent future littering thanks to A Greener Future.

Anyone wanting to contribute their cigarette waste is welcome to drop off their butts at the event.


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Blitz to pick up cigarette butts