Organizers of a nationwide cleanup this weekend want you to butt out.
It’s called Butt Blitz and it’s aiming to clean up and recycle as many cigarette butts as possible this Saturday in downtown Peterborough. Organizers are looking for volunteers to join the initiative.
Organizers will be meeting at Millennium Park at 11 a.m. sharp and will look to beat the record set last year, when they cleaned and picked up more than 14,000 cigarette butts.
“And that was all just in the downtown area,” said Peterborough Butt Blitz coordinator Donna Reid. “The problem is a lot of people don’t think it’s waste and they don’t understand that cigarette butts take 25-plus years to break down because they are full of plastic.”
Jimmy “Lightshow” Reedyk, who manages Chulmleighs on George Street, says he’s sick of cleaning up the hundreds of cigarette butts each morning when he opens shop.
“I clean up at least 200 cigarette butts each day without fail,” Reedyk said. “Somehow the message isn’t getting across that it is littering, … and it upsets me greatly because I care about my environment.”
The Downtown Business Improvement Area understands the littering problem, says executive director Terry Guiel. The DBIA has been installing cigarette urns in the downtown for free for businesses who are interested in having them.
“Last year we installed about 30 of them around restaurants and high cigarette volume areas and then this year we installed another 40 in the downtown,” Guiel said. “We offer them free to our DBIA members. They just have to install them themselves.”
On Saturday, the Butt Blitz will be cleaning streets in Peterborough again. It’s the second annual clean up and is part of a national campaign with 23 other communities.
The collected cigarette butts are taken to a Toronto recycling depot.
The Butt Blitz aims to raise awareness of the negative impacts that cigarette butt litter has on ecosystems and health. Guiel says there’s also a push to change smokers habits.
“We need to try and change the mentality of people and the culture of just feeling they can flick a cigarette butt.”
To find out more about the Butt Blitz in Peterborough email Donna Reid firstname.lastname@example.org