Excitement is Brewing!
Written By: Stefania Mustillo, Butt Blitz Coordinator
As the Butt Blitz 2017 event approaches, excitement is beginning to brew among Greener Future team. On May 6, our goal is to almost double the amount of butts that were picked up last year. That means we hope to pick up at least 200 000 butts for this third edition of the event. However, this year we have more co-ordinators than ever organizing teams from left coast to right coast so I’m starting to get a little bit dreamy about going beyond our goal; why not? For those of you who have already signed-up or for those who are thinking about joining, here is a little rundown of what this event is all about.
Many people don’t know just how toxic cigarette butts are. The toxicity of just one butt in one litre of water is enough to prove lethal to fish (Slaughter et al.). Plus there is cellulose acetate in the filter, a plastic used to create that cottony substance that makes up most of the filter. Being a plastic, it hangs around for a long while, polluting our environment and waterways. The fewer butts there are in the environment, the better, meaning that less wildlife is affected.
We want others to see us out on the streets picking up butts, we want them to ask us questions. Education is a powerful tool to reduce the amount of litter on the ground and in the environment. If you participate, be ready to engage with people and have meaningful conversations. Communicating with others person to person can lead to positive results! There are also alternatives to throwing butts on the ground like storing them in pocket ashtrays that many people don’t even know exist. We hope to provide all of our co-ordinators with some to give out to passerby and spread the word, and we are currently raising funds to do so. Conversely, you can order pocket ashtrays from Brain Garden for your personal use.
We want to live in neighbourhoods we are proud of and keeping our communities clean relays that pride. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, green spaces have multiple benefits for communities. For these green spaces to reach their maximum potential, it makes sense to keep them clean. It also ensures that our landscapes, whether urban, suburban or rural, remain sights to behold.
Although butts are not biodegradable, they can be both recycled and composted safely. The cellulose acetate is separated from the other components of the filter which include paper and rayon, and can then be transformed into plastic goods such as park benches. Any organic material in the filter can then be safely composted. Our partners at TerraCycle will be doing this with every butt we pick up for the Butt Blitz 2017 event. The bottom line here is that these butts are diverted from landfills and the environment while also creating final products that could be put to good use.
For those of you wishing to participate, you can contact me, Stefania, at email@example.com and I can either give you information on how to co-ordinate a team or redirect you to a team already in place. Also visit our Facebook event page or our Butt Blitz Page on A Greener Future’s website for more details. We really hope to see as many of you out there as possible so spread the word!
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.