Vote with your butts
A unique way of cleaning up Bradenton will come in the form of a battle of the butts — cigarette butts, that is.
Starting Friday morning, a pilot program that blossomed from a partnership between Keep America Beautiful and London-based charity Hubbub will place “Ballot Bin” receptacles in seven locations around Bradenton in an effort to curb cigarette butt littering. Bradenton is one of five cities in the U.S. to participate in the program, joining Brooklyn, N.Y.; Manchester, Tenn.; Erie, Pa.; and Guntersville, Ala.
These silver boxes are being used to engage smokers to responsibly dispose of their cigarette butts by asking them a question and letting vote for a response; choices are cast by smokers disposing their cigarette into one of two slots. Keep Manatee Beautiful’s executive director Ingrid McClellan said the first question that will be asked of smokers will be “Favorite City Park?” with choices of Riverwalk or Palma Sola Causeway.
The questions are expected to change periodically, based on local interest or current events.
“The voting bin is a simple solution that has provoked an incredibly positive response and got people talking about cigarette butt litter in a new way,” Hubbub’s managing director Rebecca Dove said in a statement.
According to Hubbub, its Neat Streets campaign including this initiative reduced litter on one of London’s busiest streets by 26 percent. The success lent itself to spread to other U.K. cities and now across the pond.
No matter which side is picked, Keep Manatee Beautiful hopes the bins will remind smokers to help keep parks and streets clear of litter.
An earlier version of this story noted the receptacles were yellow. They are silver.
Where to find the seven “Ballot Box” cigarette dispensers in Bradenton
- Blake Medical Center: west side off of 21st Avenue West near the storm drain
- Barcarrota Avenue/First Avenue West: mounted on post near park bench between 14th Street West and 15th Street West
- East of the Green Bridge at Riverwalk: mounted on third lamp post
- Botanical Walk parking lot at Riverwalk: mounted on lamp post
- Pavilion at Rossi Park at Riverwalk: mounted to southeastern most part of building
- Circular turf area at Rossi Park at Riverwalk: mounted to lamp post near park bench
- Manatee Memorial Hospital: mounted on post near bench and shade structure at the southeastern end of Riverwalk