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Trial helps reduce cigarette butt litter

Published on 23 January 2020

A trial in the City of Ryde to reduce cigarette butt litter has produced excellent results.

The City of Ryde was one of 16 councils that took part in the Cigarette Butt Reduction Trial that was overseen by the NSW Government's Litter Prevention Unit. 

The trial aimed to reduce cigarette butt litter by implementing different interventions at various smoking hotspots. There were four different intervention strategies trialled in total, each with different messaging and signage. 

Meadowbank Train Station, West Ryde and Top Ryde City Shopping Centre were part of the trial in the City of Ryde with each site showing significant improvement in cigarette butt binning rates of between 26 percent and 48 percent.

City of Ryde Mayor, Clr Jerome Laxale, said the results of the trial were extremely encouraging.

"Council will be utilising the results of the trial to install similar messaging and methods of reducing cigarette butt litter in target hotspot locations throughout Ryde," Clr Laxale said.

"We continually work to provide a 'Smarter, Cleaner, Greener' environment for the community and this trial has identified ways in which we can continue to achieve this objective."

In addition to guiding future initiatives to reduce cigarette butt litter in the City of Ryde, the results of the trial will also form the basis for the development of NSW's first ever targeted cigarette butt litter reduction program. 

This program, to be managed by the Litter Prevention Unit, will include the delivery of guidelines and resources, a review of existing litter enforcement strategies, and a targeted behaviour change campaign with the highly recognised Don’t Be A Tosser! campaign. 

Fast facts: Cigarette butt litter

  • Cigarette butts are toxic, made of plastic, leach into the environment and do not break down
  • 1.32 billion butts are littered in NSW each year
  • Cigarette butts make up 39 percent of all littered items in NSW. They are the state’s most littered item
  • You can be fined $80 for littering a cigarette butt, or $250 for tossing a cigarette from a vehicle. These fines are even higher if the cigarette is lit and if a total fire ban is in place.
  • If the strategies from the Cigarette Butt Reduction Trial were replicated across NSW, around 795 million more cigarette butts would go in the bin. Lined up end-to-end, those butts would reach from Sydney to London and beyond.
Last updated on 23 January 2020