Vancouver City Council to consider "cigarette butts for cash program"

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Cigarette Butts

For cash, we return empty cartons, cans, and bottles for recycle and to rid them from our city streets. Could cigarette butts be next for a return for cash program?

That’s what Vancouver City Councillor Adrianne Carr is spearheading, and in late-June council voted to further explore funding possibilities with recycling organizations for such a program. However, the idea would have to be approved by the provincial government for implementation as cigarettes are not within the jurisdiction of municipal governments.

The whole initiative has been launched in an attempt to remove cigarette butts from Vancouver’s streets. According to The Province, a pilot project was launched by a West End community group in June that provided a cash incentive of $20 for each pound of butts collected. 60,000 cigarette butts were collected in just 4 hours (the group ran out of money in 4 hours).

It sounds like a great idea given the problem we have with cigarette litter in our city streets. As well, considering the encouraging results of the trial program, it could be a huge success.

Now, if only more attention was also given to our widespread bubble gum issue. Unlike cigarette butts, chewed bubble gum becomes an unsightly permanent fixture on our city sidewalks. One only has to look at Granville Street: rebuilt in 2009 with granite sidewalks, it’s now covered by chewed bubble gum – even on the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame stars, which the City of Vancouver has made no attempt at cleaning.

Image: Quinn Dombrowski

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