June 27, 2017

City-Sponsored Buttcan Pilot Begins!

It’s been more than two years since we launched the San Francisco “cheek” of the Hold on to Your Butt campaign (thank you to Surfrider San Diego for originating this powerful program way back in 1992!). We’ve been slowly building the program here in SF, thanks to tireless work from our dedicated volunteers, and mission-critical support from Sunshine Swinford of SF Environment, installing our first buttcans at SF State in 2016. Additional cans followed.

We have many goals, all focused on preventing cigarette butt litter in SF. And we’ve reached a milestone for one of them this week: SF Public Works will be maintaining 40 buttcans in the Richmond and Sunset Districts as part of a 6-month pilot program. If successful, we hope the City will expand the program, installing and maintaining cigarette receptacles (aka buttcans) in “hotspot” areas all over San Francisco.

As we discuss in our report, Preventing Cigarette Litter in San Francisco, buttcans prevent cigarette litter by giving smokers a safe place to dispose of their cigarette butts. San Francisco’s 6o cents per pack cigarette litter abatement fee should be used for this purpose, and for educating smokers about the harms of cigarette litter. Check out our Hold on to Your Butt page for more info on that.

We recycle all of the cigarette butts we collect through Terracycle, and would love for the city to recycle all of the cigarette butts they collect to help achieve its Zero Waste by 2020 goal.

We’re not the only ones recycling butts and installing cans. Community organizations all over the Bay Area are working together to prevent cigarette litter, including: Shark Stewards, Union Square Business Improvement District, Lower Polk Community Benefit District, Richmond District Neighborhood Center, Lake Merritt-Uptown BID, and more.

Surfrider and SF Environment have been out in force this week, installing buttcans and doing cigarette butt cleanups in these areas in the Sunset: Irving Street between 19th – 25th Avenues, Noriega Street between 28th – 33rd Avenues, along the Ocean Beach Promenade from Noriega to Rivera Streets. In the Richmond, we are installing them on Geary Boulevard from Arguello Street to 7th Avenue, and 18th Avenue to 22nd Avenue, and on Ocean Beach in the parking lot from JFK Drive to Stairwell 20.

Come on out for our launch event and beach cleanup on June 30. Countless thanks to Ashley Summers in Supervisor Katy Tang’s office for leading the charge on this, as well as Angelina Yu in Supervisor Sandy Fewer’s office, and Ian Schneider, Rachel Gordon, and Larry Stringer at Public Works for making this pilot happen!

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