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News Release

Martha Lou Wheatley-Billeter, MPA
Public Works Information and Outreach Manager
Office: 509-477-7195

Spokane County Eco-Team Receives Cigarette Litter Grant

from Keep America Beautiful

SPOKANE COUNTY, March 28, 2018 – Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, today announced that The Eco-Team (Spokane County and City of Spokane departments) will receive a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Grant of $5,000 to combat cigarette litter on the County Courthouse Campus and in parts of downtown Spokane.
The Eco-Team is one of 42 organizations to receive grant funding through the 2018 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. The 2017 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant funding totaled $295,000. The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, now in its 16th year, is the nation’s largest program aimed at reducing cigarette litter. Throughout its history, the program has helped reduce cigarette litter in the communities in which it has been implemented by an average of 50 percent.
The Spokane County Eco-Team plans to implement a small-scale cigarette litter prevention program that targets pedestrians near some county and city-owned spaces and to also establish an education and outreach program at public events. With the addition of clear signage and messaging, installing additional ash receptacles and starting conversations with outreach materials at local events, the Eco-Team hopes to raise public awareness on cigarette disposal as both a form of litter and as a water pollutant.
According to Spokane County Water Resource Specialist Casi Harvey, this grant is not only a big win for the Regional Solid Waste System, but also for Public Works, Stormwater and Water Resources sectors. “It's easy to forget that street litter, especially cigarette butts, can freely pass through storm drains and end up either at the water treatment plants or directly into the river, causing major water pollution issues. We’re excited to embark on a project with a partnership that includes multiple county and city departments working together to help clean up our streets and waterways, and to affect positive change in our community,” Harvey said.
“The grant recipients are charged with moving the program forward to help educate and inspire smokers to do the right thing,” said Helen Lowman, Keep America Beautiful president and CEO.  “The new marketing assets, which any community can localize and use, will enable affiliates, local governments, and other community groups to teach adult smokers about the negative impacts related to littering and the role they can play in improving their community.”
Since its establishment over 16 years ago, 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 over $3 million in grant funding to support local implementation of the program in more than 1,700 communities nationwide.

Last year, Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grants provided by Keep America Beautiful 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. In addition, Keep America Beautiful piloted a new type of ash receptacle in partnership with UK-based Hubbub, known as the Ballot Bin, to fight litter. The bins were found to be successful forms of behavior change with some pilot sites showing as much as 83% reduction in cigarette litter.

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 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
Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s iconic community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Celebrating its 65th Anniversary in 2018, Keep America Beautiful strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. Behavior change – steeped in education, research and behavioral science – is the cornerstone of Keep America Beautiful. We empower generations of community and environmental stewards with volunteer programs, hands-on experiences, educational curricula, practical advice and other resources. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and YouTube. Donate and take action at kab.org

About Spokane County
Spokane County government serves approximately 500,000 citizens and 13 municipal jurisdictions, making it the fourth largest county in the State of Washington.  For more information, visit www.spokanecounty.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

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