New Brunswick

Butt Blitz aims to clean up cigarette butts in Fredericton

The Fredericton Butt Blitz took to the streets and paths of the city on Saturday, trying to save the environment one cigarette butt at a time. A group of volunteers gathered at the UNB Student Union Building to pick up cigarette butts around the city.

Volunteers spend their Saturday scouring the city for cigarette butts

Last year, Fredericton collected the most butts out of anywhere in the Canada. (Philip Drost/CBC News)

The Fredericton Butt Blitz took to the streets and paths of the city on Saturday, trying to save the environment one cigarette butt at a time.

A group of volunteers gathered at the UNB Student Union Building to pick up cigarette butts around the city.

"Wherever you look you see some," said volunteer Patti Auld Johnson, who helped organize the event.

"People can pick up anywhere. In parks, along the trails, parking lots, anywhere in Fredericton, and drop their bags of butts off to us."

People scrounged for butts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the capital city, with a focus around the UNB campus.

"Our animal friends as well as our human friends are affected by them simply just sitting there. They're not biodegradable, but they are recyclable," said volunteer Lisa Paulin.

Last year was the first year for the blitz. Volunteers in Fredericton picked up 35,325 butts, the most collected anywhere in Canada, and accounted for almost half of what was collected around the country.  

"Once we started, it started to become a little bit disturbing that it's such a serious issue," Paulin said. "We were shocked, we were absolutely shocked that it's as bad as it is and that there's so much to pick up."

Along with helping the environment, the Butt Blitz also raises money for Boston Terrier Rescue Canada. This year, Patti Auld Johnson hopes they finish with 70,000 cigarette butts.

"I'm sure we are going to break our goal," she said.

The collected butts are sent to a company called Terracycle. There, the tobacco part of the butt is put into a non-food composting program. The rest of the cigarette butt is broken down and used to make things like park benches and picnic tables.

Though the blitz is the big day for the cleanup,  Johnson and Paulin accept butts throughout the year. as well.

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.

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