Butt Blitz Series: Creative Litter Prevention

Creative Litter Prevention

Written by: Stefania Mustillo, Butt Blitz Coordinator

There have been some clever anti-littering campaigns of late that encourage passerbys not to litter. Here are some of the most creative:

Ballot Bins: Europe & North America

Created by an organization called Hubbub in the UK, ballot bins encourage smokers to vote on issues of pop culture, sports, and even politics… with their cigarette butts! The receptacles have a question or statement written on them with two answers to choose from. Each answer has its own slot and there’s a window to see how each side is doing. Not limited to just the UK, the bins are found in various cities in Europe and North America. As a sports fan, I really like the ones that involve teams or athletes. One such example asks who the best soccer player is:  Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. My personal hockey version for my hometown of Montreal would be a tough one: “Best Habs rivalry: vs. Leafs or vs. Bruins”. Some other non-sports examples include “Would you rather travel to the future or the past?”, “What would you like to see here: A playground or a community garden?”, and the ever so classic “Will you marry me?: Yes or No”. What question would you choose for your town?

Trash Can Games: Switzerland

The city of Lucerne in Switzerland wanted to draw attention to their garbage bins to promote their use. To do so, they turned the disposal of garbage into a game. This was accomplished by drawing common schoolyard activities such as mazes and hopscotch that lead up to each bin. Another version turns throwing garbage away into a basketball free throw.


This type of marketing reminded me of the piano stairs in Sweden that made using the stairs fun which in turn discouraged the use of the escalator and promoted physical activity.


Both of these campaigns turn chores into something fun! Would you participate in these games?

Anti-littering Advertising: Canada

Canadians have a reputation of being friendly and nice. But when it comes to litter, we can definitely get aggressive. Campaigns in both Toronto and Montreal have caused a buzz with their straightforward and very visual campaigns to discourage littering.


In Toronto, discarded wrappers and other packaging were collected and paired, bringing together the first part of the brand name on packaging #1 with the second half of the brand name of packaging #2 to spell out words to “shame” litterers. Some words in the collection include “selfish”, “lazy”, and, er… “dipstick”. 


Meanwhile in Montreal, massive replicas of mattresses, piles of cigarette butts, and even dog poop were placed on and next to bus shelters to remind people that all of these must be disposed of properly. This bus shelter “art” was complimented by posters depicting people trying to go about their daily business but being hindered by the litter they were surrounded by. The dog poop sculptures especially caused a stir and were the subject of many news stories at the campaign’s debut.


What do you think? Too aggressive or necessary?

About the Author


Stefania Mustillo holds a BA in Geography from Bishop’s University and is a recent graduate of McGill University’s MSc Integrated Water Resources Management program. A native Montrealer, Stefania is interested in promoting civic pride: enjoying what big cities have to offer while also keeping them clean and green. She will be assisting with the 2017 Butt Blitz event which we're sure will be bigger and better than ever! If you have any questions about this year's event, or if you'd like to participate/coordinate an event in your city Stefania is the person to contact. You can reach her through our contact form or email butt.blitz.canada@gmail.com.

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