News / Halifax

Halifax committee turns down controversial cigarette butt disposal program

Council's environment committee opted instead for staff's recommendation for a general anti-littering campaign.

This file photo taken on April 18, 2016 shows smoked cigarettes in an ashtray in Centreville, Virginia.

PAUL J. RICHARDS / AFP

This file photo taken on April 18, 2016 shows smoked cigarettes in an ashtray in Centreville, Virginia.

Halifax’s environment committee has turned down a problematic cigarette butt recycling program, opting instead for a general anti-littering campaign.

A report before the committee on Thursday recommended against the TerraCycle Cigarette Butt Recycling Program, run by a New York company that recycles cigarette butts.

TerraCycle sells butt disposal bins to cities, which then send them the butts to dispose of. The program is funded by Imperial Tobacco.

Other Canadian municipalities have tried the program: In Vancouver, the public and the health authority didn’t like the program because of a major tobacco corporation’s involvement.
Municipal staff don’t want to risk it here.

“When I first read the report I was disappointed that we weren’t going to get our recycling butt program because we hear about it all the time, we hear it from residents, we all are displeased when we walk around our beautiful municipality and we see cigarette butts on the ground,” committee chair Coun. Tony Mancini said on Thursday.

“Once I read the report, I understand there are reason for not going ahead with the recycling program.”

Staff looked at other ways of lessening the number of butts on the ground, but the province’s laws about smoking near buildings mean the municipality can’t put butt buckets near buildings – where they tend to pile up.

The committee took up staff’s recommendation to move ahead with a littering prevention campaign instead.

The municipality’s solid waste department will launch a campaign in spring 2018, “enhancing and maintaining public awareness of the implication and consequences of littering.”

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