"We Want Your Butts" Cigarette Waste Program Launches

03/01/2016 Categories: Keep Bamberg County Beautiful

Keep Bamberg County Beautiful (KBCB) and Bamberg County Recycling Program (BCRP) launched the newest recycling program for Bamberg County Monday, February 29. The program, known on social media as the, “We Want Your Butts,” program focuses on not only recycling cigarette waste, but also the prevention of cigarette waste becoming litter.


“The idea came to us last year when we were at a DHEC conference,” said Mallory D. Biering, KBCB Director. “Cigarette butts are considered the most commonly littered item in South Carolina and throughout our nation according to our sources, and it takes five years for one butt to decompose,” shared Biering.


Cigarette butts are the most commonly littered item in Bamberg County by far. No matter where a cleanup is done, cigarette butts are a problem according to Biering. “And it’s a problem that desperately needs a solution. Like PalmettoPride says, ‘Our state is not an ashtray.’”


The KBCB Board gave the go ahead after initial planning to start the program at the end of February. Containers to collect the cigarette waste are located at each LAD Site throughout Bamberg County. The following items are accepted in the containers:  extinguished cigarettes, cigarette filters, loose tobacco pouches, outer plastic packaging, inner foil packaging, rolling paper, and ash.


“In an effort to increase our recycling rate, and to help with litter prevention, we thought the We Want Your Butts Program was a great idea to start at our LAD Sites,” stated Melissa Waltz, Bamberg County Solid Waste Manager. “We created a simply container to hold the waste, trained our site attendants on how to market the program to Bamberg County Citizens, and we have started collecting waste.”


KBCB and BCRP are working with Terracycle and the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company to recycle the cigarette waste, “into a variety of industrial products, such as plastic pallets, and any remaining tobacco is recycled as compost.”


“Changing the behavior of Bamberg County Citizens when it comes to the ideas of recycling and prevention litter is what we are doing with Keep Bamberg County Beautiful,” stated Biering. “We ask citizens to share this program information with their families, friends and neighbors. Help us turn our litter problem into an effective recycling commodity.”


In addition to recycling the waste, which keeps it out of the landfill and saves space for other materials that cannot be recycled, there are other benefits to the program. Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company will donate $1.00 towards the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program for every pound of cigarette waste collected by KBCB and BCRP. This program also offers grants that KBCB can apply for in the future to help with programming.


Smokers are asked to take their cigarette waste to the LAD Sites Monday, Wednesday, or Friday between the hours of 7:00am to 7:00pm or on Saturdays between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm. Businesses are also welcome to join the We Want Your Butts Program. To join, or for more information about the program call (803) 928-4623 or email kbcb@bambergcounty.sc.gov.