‘Bag the Butts’ tackles global litter issue

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Butts collected separately from trash so they could be recycled. Thanks to Home Depot for donating the buckets.

MANCHESTER, NH – Because cigarette butts are the world’s greatest environmental litter problem, taking years to decompose and containing toxic chemicals, Breathe New Hampshire led a “Bag the Butts” cleanup of Veteran’s Memorial Park on April 13.

Manchester Police Department’s Mounted Patrol came by. From left, Officer Kelly McKenney is on General, and at right is Officer Paul Rondeau on Valor. At the Breathe NH table are Director of Philanthropy and Volunteers Cindy Rybczyk, public health intern Riley Coburn, and Policy and Program Manager Kim Coronis.

This clean-up activity, held every year around Earth Day in April, encourages volunteers to clean up school and work campuses, neighborhoods, parks and waterfronts by providing free toolkits.

Cigarette butts have filters that look like cotton but are actually thin plastic fibers that can take up to 10 years to decompose. Butts contain toxins that are not only unsightly, they’re dangerous to young children and wildlife. Poisons including cadmium, lead and arsenic leach into the soil and water supplies.

City Year NH members do the Bag the Butts stoop.

Breathe New Hampshire, a crew of about 60 from City Year, and other volunteers filled one 5-gallon Home Depot bucket with butts, and one-quarter of another. The butts were mailed to a company for recycling.

Breathe NH’s Bag the Butts is a statewide initiative to raise awareness about the environmental impact of cigarette litter, and educate people about the risks of tobacco use. Each year almost 2,000 lives in the Granite State are lost due to smoking. The NH Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Program is a partner in this effort; see www.QuitNowNH.org. #BagtheButts2018.

Anytime is a great time to help the environment! Want to Bag the Butts in your neighborhood, at work, school campus, or park? Contact Breathe New Hampshire for more information and free toolkits. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Call 603-669-2411 or email info@BreatheNH.org.