Original | City’s new cigarette-butt bins curb river pollution, made possible by cigarette maker

Photo: Fredericksburg City.

Downtown Fredericksburg residents have a tobacco company to thank in the fight to keep the city beautiful.

The city received 30 new cigarette buttlers, which are mounted on sidewalk trashcans and serve as a place for smokers to snuff out their butts. They’re located mainly along Caroline and William streets, two of downtown’s busiest thoroughfares.

The butlers are a gift given to the city at no cost from Keep Virginia Beautiful, a Richmond-based non-profit organization focused on beautifying the state. It gets the cigarette bins from another Richmond-based origination, cigarette maker Phillip Morris.

“Working with Keep Virginia Beautiful, and other Keep America Beautiful affiliates and partners, Phillip Morris placed as many as 10,000 butlers to collect cigarette butts in communities nationwide,” said Keep Virginia Beautiful Executive Director Mike Baum.

Fredericksburg was an ideal location for the butlers because the city was both willing to accept them, and to agree to empty them on a regular basis, Baum added.

When emptied, the cigarette butts collected will be weighed and then recycled via TerraCycle, a firm that specializes in hard-to-recycle waste.

Fredericksburg officials tell us that cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item. Because the filters are made mostly of plastic, they do not biodegrade.

When dropped on the street or sidewalk, they may be washed into storm drains and end up in the Rappahannock River and beyond, where they harm aquatic life, they added.

A cigarette butt that is tossed on the sidewalk could cost you up to $2,500, a conviction of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

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