Innovative 'ballot bin' set to tackle cigarette litter

Plans by South Kesteven District Council to tackle littering in Grantham took a further step forward with the installation of a ballot bin for cigarette ends - the most common form of litter in the district.

Plans by South Kesteven District Council to tackle littering in Grantham took a further step forward this week with the installation of a ballot bin for cigarette ends - the most common form of litter in the district.

SKDC hopes that encouraging smokers to have a bit of fun whilst also getting rid of their cigarette butts in an environmentally friendly way will reduce the amount of smoking-related litter.

The bright yellow bins have been successfully trialled in other parts of the country. Each bin displays a question and two answers. Smokers vote by putting their cigarette end in the slot beneath their preferred answer. The litter stacks up behind the clear glass front in two columns, showing which answer is more popular.

Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations, Cllr Dr Peter Moseley, said: "We hope the light-hearted voting system will encourage people to use the bin to help keep the town centre looking its very best. The first question is 'Pineapple on Pizza - Yes or No?'

"People may not realise that cigarette filters contain plastics and other chemicals that don't degrade, and these can be harmful to wildlife if they end up in surface water drains leading to rivers. So, despite our light-hearted approach, our message is clear: don't drop litter."

The ballot bin, attached to a lamp post in Grantham Market Place, near its junction with Westgate, is part of SKDC's work to keep the district looking attractive and clean for residents and visitors. The question on the bin will be changed on a regular basis. 

Cllr Dr Moseley added: "Innovation like this reflects our commitment to a Higher Street Standard throughout the district which already consistently exceeds the national average. If the trial is a success, further bins could be installed in other areas."

Most of SKDC's on-the-spot littering fines are issued to people dropping cigarette ends. Income from £100 fixed penalty notices goes towards the cost of maintaining the district's higher street standards.

Cllr Dr Moseley said: "We have pledged to crack down on littering and other anti-social behaviour that can blight our communities. People have to realise that they cannot drop cigarette butts, or any other kind of litter, without risking a significant financial penalty.

"These prosecutions show we are serious in our intention to help make sure a minority of people do not spoil the environment for those who want to enjoy it."