PORTLAND, OR–Pearl District Neighborhood Association (PDNA) along with R2C Group, Central City Concern, and TerraCycle, are leading an initiative to reduce and eliminate cigarette litter in the Pearl District.
Starting in early November, PDNA is installing 60 tamper-proof and fire-resistant cigarette butt disposal receptacles around the district, targeting sites with a high concentration of cigarette butts, including entrances to apartment buildings, office buildings, and bars.
Volunteer members of PDNA’s Clean Teams will be responsible for emptying the bins weekly, and shipping the contents back to TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based company that recycles and transforms cigarette butt waste into various consumer products such as plastic pallets and flower pots. The ash and tobacco are separated out and composted in a specialized process.
Local advertising agency R2C Group has signed on to sponsor 10 bins and is developing marketing materials and strategy initiatives for the program. R2C Group is an active contributor to community initiatives, most recently, the agency supported the launch of Central City Concern’s Blackburn Center.
“Cigarette waste is everywhere, and this program is designed to provide smokers with a responsible solution for discarding their cigarette butts while helping the environment and the appearance of our city’s streets,” said David Mitchell, the program leader and former chairman of PDNA’s Livability and Safety Committee.
It is the first use case of these disposal bins and recycling programs in Portland and surrounding areas. Seattle, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Vancouver, B.C. have adopted similar programs and were consulted for this effort.
“R2C Group fully supports PDNA’s efforts to remove toxic cigarette butts from our streets and our parks. We’re eager to utilize our advertising expertise to communicate the benefits of this program, illustrate where to find the disposal bins and how to use them,” said Michelle Cardinal, CEO and Co-Founder of R2C Group.
A few bins have already been installed near Central City Concern on NW Burnside and NW Broadway, with more now being installed. The collected waste will be repurposed into clean, new items — not thrown into a landfill.
Portland’s Bureau of Transportation has approved this program and the installation of the bins on its posts. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office and City Commissioner Nick Fish have also endorsed this effort.