Keep America Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program Opens 2017 Grant Application Period

by | Jan 12, 2017

Nation’s Leading Steward in Fight to End Littering Offers Financial Aid, Expert Resources; 2016 Program Delivers Average Reduction in Cigarette Butt Litter of 60 Percent

STAMFORD, Conn. (Jan. 12, 2017) – Keep America Beautiful, the nation’s leading nonprofit that envisions a country in which every community is a green, clean and beautiful place to live, today announced the organization has opened the grant application period for the 2017 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program to help communities combat the most commonly littered item in America.

Keep America Beautiful affiliates, local governments, business improvement districts, downtown associations, parks and recreation commissions, and other organizations dedicated to eradicating litter and beautifying their communities are encouraged to apply. The deadline for all applications is Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. All interested organizations should complete the online application available at Grant winners are expected to be announced prior to March 22, 2017.

Communities implementing the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in 2016 reported an average 60 percent reduction of cigarette litter, even greater than the previous year’s average reduction of 52 percent. Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant funding empowers communities to help mitigate the economic, environmental and quality-of-life impact of cigarette butt littering. In 2017, Keep America Beautiful will offer individual merit-based grants in amounts of $2,500, $5,000, $10,000, and $20,000. Total grant funding for 2017 is expected to exceed $300,000.

“The increase in the number of communities participating in the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program — and the significant reduction in visible cigarette butt litter within these communities — are very promising signs,” said Cecile Carson, vice president, litter and affiliate relations, Keep America Beautiful. “Providing additional educational opportunities and increasing access to ash receptacles and portable pocket ashtrays are crucial to changing littering behaviors.”

The Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, created by Keep America Beautiful in 2002, is the nation’s largest program aimed at eliminating cigarette butt and cigar tip litter. Since its inception, the program has been successfully implemented in more than 1,500 urban, suburban and rural communities nationwide. Over the past decade, participating communities have consistently cut cigarette butt litter by 50 percent based on local measurements taken in the first four months to six months after program implementation. Survey results also demonstrate that as communities continue to monitor and implement the program, those reductions are sustained or even increased over time.

By providing people with easily accessible information and educational tools, as well as funding for ash receptacles and the distribution of pocket or portable ashtrays, Keep America Beautiful is making strides in educating the public and ensuring a cleaner tomorrow. To address cigarette butt litter, Keep America Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program advocates that communities integrate four proven approaches:

  • Encourage enforcement of litter laws, including cigarette litter;
  • Raise awareness about the issue using public service messages;
  • Place ash receptacles at transition points such as entrances to public buildings; and
  • Distribute pocket or portable ashtrays to adult smokers.

Tobacco products, consisting mainly of cigarette butts, are the most littered item in America, representing nearly 38 percent of all items littered, according to “Litter in America,” Keep America Beautiful’s landmark 2009 study of litter and littering behavior.

Research has shown that even self-reported “non-litterers” often don’t consider tossing cigarette butts on the ground to be “littering.”  Keep America Beautiful has found that cigarette butt litter occurs most often at transition points—areas where a person must stop smoking before proceeding into another area.  These include bus stops, entrances to stores and public buildings, and the sidewalk areas outside of bars and restaurants, among others.

The Keep America Beautiful “Guide to Cigarette Litter Prevention” provides information about starting and maintaining a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in any community, and can be found online at  You can also view the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program PSA on Keep America Beautiful’s YouTube channel.

The 2017 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program is supported by funding from Philip Morris USA, an Altria company; RAI Services Company; and the Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company.

About Keep America Beautiful
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country in which every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 620 state and community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. To donate or take action, visit Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.