To help combat cigarette butt litter on the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Council partnered with the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science to trial a cigarette butt litter intervention campaign through the testing of a Litter Butt Check methodology (developed by the New South Wales Government).
The aim of the trial was to identify the most effective strategies for reducing smokers’ cigarette butt litter behaviour, and further test the effectiveness and usability of project materials and collateral.
Council’s learnings would support the development of a final toolkit for use by local councils, non-government organisations and community groups hoping to reduce cigarette butt litter.
The trial was carried out at Coolum Beach in three areas including the car park, open parkland area and surf club, from July to September 2021 to raise awareness about the key strategies, as outlined by the Department of Environment and Science (DES) below.
DID YOU KNOW?
Cigarette butts are the #1 littered item in the environment according to the department of environment and science.
Area 1- Carpark: Enforcement – establishing signage informing people of their responsibilities, drawing smokers’ attention to fines, increased council officer presence.
Area 2 – Parkland: Pathways, Pride & Ownership – focus on installing butt bins, providing clear information and directions on the pathways.
Area 3 – Surf Club: Positive Social Norming – focus on installing butt bins, positive artwork on the ground and promoting the expectation that smokers using the area will dispose of their cigarette butts in the bins provided. Coolum Surf Club assisted with this campaign by handing out free pocket ashtrays.
The preliminary results indicated that Area three found the largest reduction in butts.
Given the prevalence of cigarette butts in the litter stream it’s important to increase understanding of the behaviours and barriers around cigarette butt littering, in order to effectively reduce this negative behaviour.
Remember, do your part to help keep our beach clean, please butt it, then bin it!