New boxes hope to curb cigarette butt litter in southeast Ohio

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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Lawrence and Scioto counties are hoping to see less cigarette butts on the sides of roads and on sidewalks, with the help of simple boxes hanging from poles.

With a grant, the Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Management District was gifted 44 cigarette disposal boxes. The boxes are for smokers to properly dispose of their cigarette butts in one of the 25 locations in Lawrence County and 19 in Scioto County.

The containers are strapped to poles around the counties and emptied once a month by waste officials.

Lawrence-Scioto County Solid Waste Management Director Dan Palmer says their department has been working on the project for nearly two years with the Keep America Beautiful organization. They say they were forced to find an answer after noticing butts piling up in many of the counties tourism and public areas -- creating eyesores for the communities.

“People just deposit them everywhere,” Palmer told WSAZ’s Nick Oliver. “We hope people take advantage of this program and take pride in the community and cleaning up the community. I don’t think most smokers realize what they are doing is litter.”

The state of Ohio has some of the strictest litter laws in the country. Anyone caught disposing of any item illegally, including cigarette butts, can face a fine of $500 and 60 days in jail, according to state law. However, cigarette butt disposal on private or public property is not known to be enforced.

The department hopes this will push more surrounding counties in the region to consider making similar moves and create a proven unhealthy habit of smoking into a clean disposal habit.

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