City tells smokers where to put their butts

The City of Edmonton wants smokers to keep their butts off sidewalks.
City officials hope new ashtrays like this one will help keep cigarette butts off sidewalks. (CBC) ((CBC) )
The City of Edmonton wants smokers to keep their butts off sidewalks.

The city launched two pilot projects on Thursday that include a public education campaign and providing more street ashtrays.

Street teams, comprised of students hired for the summer, will hand out pocket ashtrays to smokers on Jasper Avenue downtown and on Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona.

"It's part of keeping our city clean because as you all know we've had a lot of criticism about the litter on the streets … cigarette butts are 36 per cent of all the litter on our streets," Coun. Jane Batty said.

Coun. Jane Batty says cigarette butts account for 36 per cent of the litter on city streets. (CBC)
Cigarette filters are not bio-degradable and the butt containers provide a better method of disposal, she said.

The ashtray chosen by the city is a streamlined, silver cyclinder that attaches to poles, Batty said. Each one costs $150.

The total cost of the pilot projects is $138,000, of which the city has contributed $78,000, Batty said. The balance will be paid by local business groups and Health Canada.

In announcing the projects, the city reminded residents that the fine for littering, including cigarette butts, is $250.