PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) - A local nonprofit is working to keep butts off our beaches. Keep PCB Beautiful has already cleaned up dozens of pounds of cigarette litter. For this week's Everyday Heroes we take a closer look at the Cigarette Litter Prevention Campaign.
Keep PCB Beautiful has installed 54 cigarette litter receptacles around Panama City Beach. (WJHG)
"We have America's most beautiful beaches and we are here to help keep them that way and to make them even better, also to give people a way to be part of the solution," said Kim Christian, Spokesperson for Keep PCB Beautiful.
Keep PCB Beautiful kicked off a Cigarette Litter Prevention Campaign back in April after receiving a grant from Keep America Beautiful. Fifty-four cigarette receptacles were installed across Panama City Beach at the City Pier, Frank Brown Park, Pier Park and local restaurants, like Pineapple Willy's.
"Most people don't think the cigarette butts are trash, so they don't really clean-up after themselves, but it's very important because it is trash and we want to keep our beaches the most beautiful beaches, and during the summer during our beach clean-up, cigarette butts were the number one item picked up everyday," said Melissa Traxler, Pineapple Willy's CEO.
The cigarette receptacles aren't just on land, they're also out at sea. Keep PCB Beautiful partnered with Captain Anderson's to take some of the cigarette receptacles out on their fishing boats.
"As you know people are prone to sometimes throw their cigarette butt into the water just because it is convenient. It's there, but it's not the right thing to do, so they have offered generously to deck out every single one of our head boats with a cigarette receptacle and I can just tell you it has been outstanding, they are quickly filling up," said Chelsea Ray, Marketing Director for Captain Anderson's Marina.
According to a study done by Keep America Beautiful, more than 70 percent of people who participated in the study didn't think cigarettes were litter. Since the campaign started in April, the nonprofit has collected more than 30 pounds of cigarette butts.
"They hardly biodegrade, it takes up to 10 years and when they do biodegrade they release toxins into our environment," Christian said. "We are not here to tell people to stop smoking, we are just here
if you are going to smoke just put your cigarette butt in the proper receptacle."
All the recycled butts are given to Terracycle, a recycling company that makes the plastic found in cigarette butts into furniture.
To date, Keep PCB Beautiful has cleaned 48 miles of shoreline. The group will be applying for another grant in the hopes of placing more cigarette receptacles around Panama City Beach.
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