Mégot Zéro Campaign Making its Mark in Montreal
Written By: Stefania, Mustillo - Butt Blitz Coordinator
Mégot Zéro is a campaign headed by the Société pour l'action, l'éducation et la sensibilisation environnementale de Montréal (SAESEM) that would like to see fewer cigarette butts on our streets. They have partnered with the City of Montreal as well as TerraCycle to make this happen. The project began in June 2016 when cigarette butt receptacles were placed in busy thoroughfares such as downtown, the Village, and Old Montreal, all in the Ville-Marie borough, enabling smokers to have an alternative place to dispose their butts. The butts are then collected weekly and shipped to TerraCycle in Toronto (with whom A Greener Future also partners) where they are composted and recycled.
I had the chance to touch base with SAESEM’s project manager Myriam Plante via email who was able to give me more insight on the project and where it’s headed. When asked why she thinks throwing butts on the ground has become so acceptable, Ms. Plante answered that the problems related to cigarette butt litter are not discussed as often as they should be. She says that people start to feel bad when they learn about the toxicity of the butts and the harm that they can do to the environment. Therefore, besides providing public ashtrays for those who smoke, education is also an integral part of the project. SAESEM has spread the word of Mégot Zéro to the restaurants, shops, and citizens of the neighbourhoods where their ashtrays are located letting them know what the project is about. Surveys were also conducted after installation for feedback on the project. Since the project has been well received in the participating neighbourhoods, the ashtrays there will stay put with another borough ready to jump on board in 2017. They also have received extensive media coverage from news outlets such as the CBC, Huffington Post, CTV, and Radio-Canada which has helped get their message across to larger audiences. SAESEM has plans to expand next year by working with private organizations while continuing their partnership with the city. Since June, the organization has recovered 200,000 butts from both their public ashtrays and other collaborations.
Montreal is the third city in Canada to have a cigarette butt recycling project in place. The first two were in Toronto and Vancouver, the latter being the world’s first city to embark on such an endeavour.
CBC Montreal article
New bins installed in Gay Village, Old Montreal already redirecting 10,000 butts a week from streets and sewers.
City of Vancouver
The cigarette butt recycling pilot program launched in November 2013 with the installation of approximately 100 cigarette recycling bins.
City of Toronto
New cigarette receptacles are being mounted around a downtown-area intersection in an initiative designed to keep smokers from tossing their butts on the ground.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.