SMOKERS in Leamington are now faced with a choice when binning their butts.
Environmental change organisation Clean up Britain has installed a ‘voting ballot bin’, on Regent Court, as part of its ‘Now or Never’ campaign.
The ballot bin encourages smokers to discard cigarette butts and answer a question with two choices they can select by dropping their butt in one of two slots. The question will change once the bin is emptied.
The bin was first trialled in part of London resulting in a 30 per cent a reduction in smoking-related litter.
It made headlines after a poll asked whether Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo was the best footballer in the world and has since been used in more than 20 countries around the world.
And the bin’s first question to smokers in Leamington is about the cost of cleaning up litter in the UK, and gives a choice of £6million or £1billion a year.
Clean up Britain (CUB) founder John Read said: “Cigarette butts are the worst form of litter in the world. 200 million butts a day are discarded in the UK – that’s a massive amount. They are highly toxic and contain plastic. The toxins can kill animals, it pollutes water and can take anything from one month to 15 years to biodegrade.
“It’s a huge social issue which causes environmental damage to everyone in the town and across the country.”
Angela Owen part of the CUB team added: “Leamington has a lot of cigarette litter. It seems to be a normalised thing within a wider culture of dropping rubbish.
“Cigarette filters are highly toxic, made with plastic and if dropped into drains, can pollute our water systems.
“The box would be a fun way of introducing intervention and encourage behaviour change.
“What’s needed is a community effort and we as individuals all have the power to make good things happen.”
The campaign is also trialling the use of portable ashtrays which are small enough to attach to keys.
According to Mr Read, the ashtrays are already used by 90 per cent of smokers in Japan.
He added: “It’s a cultural attitude shift which we require in this country and we’re putting our toe in the water to see whether people would be willing to change their habits.”
The organisation is calling on smokers to join a focus group to trial the ash trays.
Participants receive £40 for the 70 minute session.
Email [email protected] for more details.