UMW Launches Litter Prevention Campaign

The University of Mary Washington will take part in the Keep America Beautiful® Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, a national program to reduce the impact of cigarette butt litter.

UMW is partnering with the Fredericksburg Clean & Green Commission in their efforts to reduce cigarette butt litter in the City of Fredericksburg

UMW is partnering with the Fredericksburg Clean & Green Commission in their efforts to reduce cigarette butt litter in the City of Fredericksburg

In its first year, UMW will target cigarette butt litter throughout the campus with a concentrated and sustained effort and will partner with the Fredericksburg Clean & Green Commission in their efforts to reduce cigarette butt litter in the City of Fredericksburg. This year’s campaign theme is “Butts are Litter Too.”

To kick start the campaign, student volunteers will hand out pocket ash trays on the Fredericksburg campus from Wednesday, Sept. 11 through Friday, Sept. 13.

The Keep America Beautiful® Cigarette Litter Prevention Program tackles the issue by integrating four proven approaches: encouraging enforcement of litter laws, including cigarette litter; raising awareness about the issue using signs and public service messages; placing ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings; and distributing pocket ashtrays to adult smokers.

In 2012, nearly 240 communities reported an average 42 percent reduction in littered butts as a result of implementing the program. Tobacco products, including cigarette butts, are the most-littered item in America, representing nearly 38 percent of all items, according to “Litter in America,” the Keep America Beautiful® landmark 2009 study of litter and littering behavior.  This research also showed that individuals who would never litter items such as beverage cans or paper packaging may not consider tossing cigarette butts on the ground “littering.”

The “Butts are Litter Too Campaign” is only one of UMW’s sustainability efforts centered on waste reduction. University waste reduction efforts include participation in Recyclemania, a national recycling contest, in which UMW placed first in Virginia in 2012 and 2013. In addition, the university has partnered with Sodexo Inc. for a comprehensive food waste reduction campaign, including reusable take-out containers, composting and raising student awareness of the economic, environmental and social impact of food waste.

National nonprofit Keep America Beautiful® has field-tested and expanded the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program since 2003, funded by Philip Morris USA, an Altria company, and with additional support from Reynolds American Inc. Services Company.  Information about starting and maintaining a community Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is available online.  The “Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention” can be accessed through the Keep America Beautiful® website www.kab.org or directly at www.preventcigarettelitter.org.

Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. With a network of over 1,200 affiliate and participating organizations, Keep America Beautiful forms public-private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. To learn more about Keep America Beautiful, go to www.kab.org.

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.