Ballot bin for cigarette butts in Worthing

18 August 2017, 06:19


A novel way to encourage smokers to dispose of their cigarette ends properly is being trialled in Worthing town centre.

A 'ballot bin' has been fixed to a post at the taxi rank in Chapel Road and invites smokers to vote on a simple question by putting their cigarette ends in one of two slots.

The first question being asked is whether Brighton & Hove Albion will survive their first season in the Premier League.

The ballot bin initiative by Adur & Worthing Councils comes 10 years after smoking was banned in enclosed public places in England, such as pubs, restaurants and offices.

Although the number of smokers has fallen by nearly two million across the UK during that time, discarded cigarette ends have become a scourge of the streets as people have to venture outdoors to light up.

In Worthing town centre, for example, street cleaners were typically picking up between 60 to 100 cigarette ends each day in one short stretch between Montague Place and South Street.

Other hotspots include:

  • Level crossings, where cars can stand stationary for long periods waiting for trains to pass
  • Outside pubs and cafes
  • By benches in parks and town centres.

Councillor Diane Guest, Worthing's Executive Member for Environment, welcomed the ballot bin initiative. She said:

“This is a fun way of getting across a serious point. Cigarette ends are the most littered items and blight our town centres.”

“They are difficult for our street sweepers to pick up, and this bin will hopefully encourage smokers to do the right thing in an innovative and fun way.”

“If anyone has ideas for future questions that could be asked, we would be very pleased to consider them.”

Ballot bin questions will be changed on a regular basis to maintain interest. The bin may also be moved to different locations during the trial to find out where it works best.

Did you know?

  • In the UK, 120 tonnes of cigarette-related litter are discarded on our streets every day
  • Cigarettes account for more 40 per cent of street litter
  • Cigarette filters can take up to 12 years to degrade
  • Cigarette butts leak toxins that contaminate water and harm marine life and the environment
  • Cigarette filters have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales and other marine creatures, who mistake them for food