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No Butts About It! Waterford City & County Council’s new initiative to tackle cigarette waste

In an initiative to encourage smokers to properly dispose of their cigarette butts, Waterford City and County Council recently installed ‘ballot bins’ in Waterford City, Tramore and Dungarvan.

The ballot bins feature an engaging voting system that is a fun way to get people to vote by placing their cigarette butts in one of two voting slots.  The ballot bins feature customisable questions and smokers can vote on the topic.

The polls will be regularly updated and will feature Yes / No polls with questions such as ‘Were Ross and Rachel on a break?’ or ‘Pineapple on Pizza?’ Other polls will offer a choice of answers such as ‘Best Blaa filling? Red Lead or Crisps’ and ‘Which came first? The Chicken or the egg’.

While the topics may be fun and engaging, cigarette butts pose a real societal and environmental problem.  They are the most common form of litter in both Waterford and indeed the world, with an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts thrown away every year.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. John O’Leary praised the initiative, saying “Cigarette butts are a scourge. Not only are they the most common source of litter, they are also an ecological nightmare, posing a real danger to people, wildlife, and marine life.

“Cigarette butts are single-use plastics and can take up to 13 years to break down.  If the ballot bins encourage smokers to dispose of their cigarette butts responsibly and safely, it will make a massive change for the good of our children and our environment.”

Niall Kane, Acting Senior Executive Officer with Waterford City and County Council added, “This campaign is part of Waterford City and County Council’s aim to reduce littering on our streets, in our seas and our countryside.  With cigarette butts accounting for 40% of all litter in Waterford, they really are a blot on the landscape.  Towns and cities that have previously installed ballot bins have seen cigarette butt litter reduced by up to 46%, so they are proven effective.”

The ballot bins are located in Grattan Square in Dungarvan, Strand Street in Tramore and John Robert’s Square in Waterford city.

Waterford City and County Council will regularly update the ballot polls with topical and humorous conundrums.

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