National Keep America Beautiful Initiative Reports 52 Percent Reduction of Cigarette Litter in Participating Communities

Primary tabs

National Keep America Beautiful Initiative Reports 52 Percent Reduction of Cigarette Litter in Participating Communities

Keep America Beautiful Announces 2016 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Grant Recipients, Delivering $240,000 to 42 Organizations; Program Now in 49 States, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Canada

tweet me:
.@kabtweet #Cigarette #Litter Prevention Program reports 52% reduction across participating communities.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - 10:35am

STAMFORD, Conn. March 30, 2016 /3BL Media/– Keep America Beautiful, the national nonprofit that envisions a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live, today announced an average 52 percent reduction in cigarette litter in communities that implemented its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2015, a 4 percent increase over the 2014 results. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, now in its 14th year, is the nation’s largest program aimed at reducing cigarette litter.

Keep America Beautiful also announced that 49 new grants, totaling $240,000, will be distributed to 42 organizations through the 2016 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. Keep America Beautiful affiliates, local governments, business improvement districts, downtown associations, parks and recreation areas, and other organizations dedicated to ending litter and beautifying communities are receiving grants. Since the establishment of the national initiative, communities in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada have implemented the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program to reduce cigarette litter.

“One of Keep America Beautiful’s primary goals is to end littering in America,” said Keep America Beautiful President and CEO Jennifer Jehn. “Keep America Beautiful and our more than 600 affiliates are in the business of behavior-change. Our history proves that we can change behaviors that lead to reducing litter and our impact is particularly evident when it comes to the successful and sustained results of the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.”

Since its establishment, the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program has consistently cut cigarette butt litter by approximately half based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after program implementation.  Survey results also demonstrate that as communities continue to implement and monitor the program those reductions are sustained or even increased over time. Keep America Beautiful has distributed nearly $3 million in grant funding since 2006 to support local implementation of the program in more than 1,500 communities.

Last year, grants provided by Keep America Beautiful through the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program funded implementations across the country in a variety of settings including downtowns, roadways, beaches, parks, marinas, colleges/universities, tourist locations, and at special event locations.

  • The Hampton Roads Planning District Commission in Chesapeake, Virginia, used a 2015 grant to develop a multi-pronged program across multiple Keep America Beautiful community-based affiliates and government agencies in a variety of cities. At the conclusion of the two-season-long project, 42 new ash receptacles were installed and an overall reduction of cigarette litter was measured at 74 percent.
  • Working with a diverse group of community partners, Keep Golden Isles Beautiful in Brunswick, Georgia, focused its efforts on raising awareness as well as installing 12 light pole cigarette waste receptacles and five free-standing units.
  • Keep Ohio Beautiful (KOB) and its partners used its grant funding to focus on education in the Lake Erie area. As a result of its efforts, KOB documented a 58 percent reduction in cigarette litter in the areas that were measured.

Tobacco products, consisting mainly of cigarette butts, are the most littered item in America, representing nearly 38 percent of all items littered, according to "Litter in America," Keep America Beautiful’s landmark study of litter and littering behavior.

“The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program pursues a multi-faceted behavior-change strategy to combat, and ultimately eliminate, the leading form of litter in America. We applaud our grant recipients for making such significant progress, helping to fulfill our vision of a country where every community is a clean, green and beautiful place to live,” concluded Jehn.

Research has shown that even self-reported “non-litterers” often don’t consider tossing cigarette butts on the ground to be "littering."  Keep America Beautiful has found that cigarette butt litter occurs most often at transition points—areas where a person must stop smoking before proceeding into another area.  These include bus stops, entrances to stores and public buildings, and the sidewalk areas outside of bars and restaurants, among others.

To address cigarette butt litter, Keep America Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program advocates that communities integrate four proven approaches:

  • Encourage enforcement of litter laws, including cigarette litter;
  • Raise awareness about the issue using public service messages;
  • Place ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings; and
  • Distribute pocket or portable ashtrays to adult smokers.

The "Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention" provides information about starting and maintaining a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in any community, and can be found online at View the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program PSA video on Keep America Beautiful’s YouTube channel.

The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is supported by funding from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company; RAI Services Company; and the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.

About Keep America Beautiful
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country where every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering in America, improve recycling in America, and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. To learn how you can donate or take action, visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.

2016 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Grant Recipients

City Center Partnership Inc., SC Keep Kingsport Beautiful, TN
Clean Virginia Waterways, Longwood University, VA Keep Lewisville Beautiful, TX
Downtown Boston BID, MA Keep Lexington Beautiful, KY
Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District, PA Keep Liberty Beautiful, GA
I Love A Clean San Diego, CA Keep the Midlands Beautiful, SC
Isla Vista Recreation & Park District, CA Keep New Orleans Beautiful, LA
KAB of Nash & Edgecombe Counties, NC Keep Ohio Beautiful
Keep Alachua County Beautiful, FL Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Keep Beatrice Beautiful, NE Keep Prince William Beautiful, VA
Keep Brunswick Beautiful, NC Keep Southwest Virginia Beautiful
Keep Charlotte Beautiful, NC Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful, FL
Keep Charlotte Beautiful, FL Keep Tennessee Beautiful
Keep Chatsworth-Murray Beautiful, GA Keep Van Buren Beautiful, AR
Keep Chester County Beautiful, TN Keep Virginia Beautiful 
Keep Clarksdale Beautiful, MS Midtown Sacramento Business Association, CA
Keep Coffee County Beautiful, TN OKC Beautiful, OK
Keep Corinth-Alcorn Beautiful, MS Operation Green Team, AL
Keep Fremont Beautiful, NE Pacifica Beach Coalition, CA
Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, GA Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, PA
Keep Hamilton Clean and Green, ONT San Mateo County, CA
Keep Keith County Beautiful, NE Shark Stewards - Earth Island Institute, CA



Mike Rosen
Keep America Beautiful
Keywords: Environment & Climate Change | Cigarette Litter Prevention Program | Community | Engagement | Keep America Beautiful | Litter in America