In total, more than 244m of them are dropped in the UK every year. That adds up to 104 tonnes of butts – the weight of 13 double-decker buses.
Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) will unveil its new “smoking zones” research in Westminster at the relaunch of the Tidy Britain All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) today, in response to demands for solutions to littering.
KBT – “The expert messaging and nudge techniques developed by Keep Britain Tidy, alongside the suitable very visible provision, have the potential to be highly effective in reducing the problem at smoking hotspots”
The innovative new approach creates a designated area for smokers in which they can smoke and dispose of their cigarette butts correctly.
The approach was trialled by Keep Britain Tidy’s Centre for Social Innovation on the concourse outside London’s Euston station and led to an 89% reduction in the number of smokers observed throwing their butts on the ground, the environmental charity says.
The idea is based on Keep Britain Tidy’s research and analysis on smokers’ behaviour and smoking-related litter, as well as the drivers that lead people “to do the right thing”.
The project was developed by the charity’s Centre for Social Innovation as part of a programme that looks for practical solutions that can be used to cut the amount of litter that blights our country.
Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “We are delighted that our smoking zones have been effective in tackling a problem that affects everywhere in this country.
“The expert messaging and nudge techniques developed by Keep Britain Tidy, alongside the suitable very visible provision, have the potential to be highly effective in reducing the problem at smoking hotspots.
“We are delighted to be launching this new approach at the Tidy Britain APPG and hope that those charged with clearing up the butts that blight our country will see it as a low-cost and effective means of tackling the problem.”
The All-Party Parliamentary Group’s chair, Jim Fitzpatrick MP, said: “Cigarette litter is a very serious, not to mention expensive, problem in Britain which urgently needs to be tackled. According to research by Keep Britain Tidy, many smokers are not even aware their cigarette butts are considered litter and are costing local councils millions every year to clean up.
“This needs to change, and we hope to achieve this with the inauguration of the APPG and will also work to bring other concerns around keeping Britain tidy to the forefront.”
The results of Keep Britain Tidy’s latest research will be discussed by MPs and Peers at today’s meeting.