Interns with the Downtown Surrey BIA count cigarette butts during the association’s cigarette butt buy-back initiative on Friday, Aug. 9. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Downtown Surrey BIA collects cigarette butts in buy-back initiative

People could receive five cents per cigarette butt, with a limit of $50 per person

In two-and-a-half hours, the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association collected more than 35,000 cigarette butts for its pilot buy-back initiative.

On Friday (Aug. 9), interns with the Downtown Surrey BIA spent part of the afternoon collecting and counting cigarette butts from people in the community.

Area enhancement intern Jeanette Lim said the idea was to combat cigarette waste, with a slogan of “be your city’s superhero.” Some of the interns dressed up in some familiar superhero costumes such as Captain Marvel and Spider-Man.

“Our goal is to get cigarette butts off the streets because that is the number one most littered item in the world,” Lim told the Now-Leader during the event, adding that “litter is a huge problem in downtown Surrey.”

“So we’re trying to tackle that issue.”

For the cigarette buy-back, people could get five cents per butt, with a cap of $50 per person.

The event also included cash prizes. The person to collect the most cigarette butts would win $150, second place was $125, third place was $100, fourth place was $75 and fifth place was $50.

“We had this one guy come with a massive bag and it was a lot of butts. We didn’t even bother counting them, we just gave him the capped money,” she said.

While the event was supposed to last four hours, Lim said they closed up early because they ran out of cash.

Lim said it was mostly people living on the streets who came through with cigarette butts, “which is a good thing because they need the money as well and they can help clean up the city.”

The Downtown Surrey BIA received a $500-grant from the City of Surrey for the pilot project, and Lim said the hope is to be able to bring it back next year on a slightly larger scale.

She said Victoria and Vancouver have both done cigarette buy-back programs.

“I’m hoping that if more cities get on this idea then they will be more aware of the problem of cigarette butts being littered. It’s small and it’s not very noticeable, but it’s damaging.”

After collecting the butts, Lim said they will then be sent to TerraCycle.

The company has a cigarette waste recycling program that recycles all parts of the extinguished cigarettes, cigarette filters, cigar stubs, plastic packaging, inner foil packaging, rolling paper and ash.

According to TerraCycle, the cigarettes and packaging “are separated by composition and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled industrial products, such as plastic pallets.” The ash and tobacco are separated out and composted in a “specialized process.”

Also this month, the BIA has been handing out “pocket ashtrays.”

“The idea is that instead of putting your cigarette butts on the floor, you put it in this reusable bag or pouch, and then when it’s full, you empty it into the garbage can instead of having it all around the city,” Lim said.

The cigarette buy-back initiative was part of the city’s Love Where You Live program.

READ ALSO: Surrey residents invited to help clean up city parks on Mondays this month, Aug. 8, 2019

READ ALSO: Surrey to launch city-wide clean-up, beautification initiative, April 16, 2019



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Just Posted

Grieving South Surrey mom ‘disappointed’ province not moving quicker to fix recovery homes

Min. Judy Darcy says new regulations, effective Dec. 1, follow ‘many horror stories’

B.C.’s health, addictions ministers to announce changes to recovery-house rules

Safety, quality of care targeted; South Surrey parent whose son overdosed ‘curious’ about amendments

Surrey school district unveils its first rainbow crosswalk

Superintendent Jordan Tinney says colour crossing ‘a statement that everyone is welcome in Surrey’

Potters’ House of Horrors sets date for opening weekend in Surrey

The ‘Death Valley Motor Inn’ is an all-new haunted house this year

Date set for complete closure of North Surrey Recreation Centre

Users will be directed to programs and services within a four-kilometre radius of the site

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria cases in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

BREAKING: Body found believed to be missing Chilliwack senior with dementia

Police says case is now in the hands of the coroner

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Liberals block hearings into scathing ethics report on SNC-Lavalin affair

Dion concluded in his report last week that Trudeau broke the Conflict of Interest Act

Retired Richmond fisherman wins record-breaking $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Most Read

l -->