Cigarette Litter Receptacle Proven Effective Against Littering

It’s green. It’s rectangular. It’s undeniably chic — and it’s what’s keeping cigarette butts off the streets of downtown, Athens. These artistically designed boxes are called Cigarette Litter Receptacle, better known as CLR.

Forty CLRs have been installed on parking meters as well as on light poles in pilot areas of downtown, according to the Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department.

The CLRs were created to give smokers a place to dispose their used cigarettes.

“A baseline count found 6, 207 butts on the sidewalk and in the gutters along bars and restaurants near West Washington, West Clayton, and North Lumpkin streets before street-sweepers came early in the morning to clear them away”, stated Blake Aued in his article for the Athens Banner-Herald.

“Thanks to the CLRs, a four month study in the city indicated that cigarette trash was reduced up to 54 percent,” said Rachael Widener, technology manager at The University of Georgia.

“In general, we saw reductions each time we did the scans,” Stacee Farrell, executive director of Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, told the Athens Banner Herald.

According to the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP), if cigarette butts remain on the ground and are not disposed of properly, it can cause some damage economically as well as environmentally.

The CLPP states that cigarette butt litter creates blight which accumulates in gutters and outside doorways and bus shelters. This is an issue because, according to the CLPP, it “creates a sense that no one cares, leading to more community disorder and crime.”  It also pollutes the water and can harm wildlife.

About 18 percent of litter, traveling primarily through storm water systems, ends up in local streams, rivers and waterways, according to the CLPP.

The idea for the receptacles came forth when indoor smoking was banned in 2005, according to the Athens-Clarke County Solid Waste Department,

“The design of the CLRs was a joint effort of Keep Athens-Clarke County Beautiful, the Athens-Clarke County government’s stormwater division and public information office, the Tobacco Prevention Coalition, the Athens Downtown Development Authority, and the Athens Design Development program”, Diana Hartle told the Athens Banner-Herald.

“Our CLR is a very sturdy litter receptacle designed for busy urban areas.  There is a stub-out grate on the interior of the slot.  The cigarette is stubbed out and just dropped in,” said Didi Dunphy, one of the designers of the CRL for the Athens Design Development.

“The CLR holds a good volume of trash at which time of being full can be emptied,” said Dunphy.  “The pivot mechanism allows for the receptacle to spin down and the contents emptied into whatever trash bag or other trash unit.”

Dunphy adds that the receptacle is approximately 256 cubic inches in volume capacity and the design helps keep the disposed contents dry.

Thus far, the CLR has received two awards. The first award was for first place in the State Litter Prevention category and the second was for a second place National Award for “outstanding efforts to engage individuals in the implementation of the National Cigarette Litter Prevention Program,” according to the CLR website.

“As a downtown resident, I have definitely noticed a difference since the receptacles have been in place,” said Kelly Girtz, District 9 Commissioner. “Areas that have them installed seem cleaner by far.”

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