BEACH CLEAN UP: The new butts bin.
BEACH CLEAN UP: The new butts bin. Christian Morrow

No ifs, butts or maybes about it

BEACHES are not ashtrays and here in Byron Shire there should be no ifs, especially no butts or maybes about it.

Now, Byron Shire Council are about to take their Smoke Free Byron Beaches campaign up a couple of notches thanks to a $100,000 grant from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to promote a new Butt Free Byron Shire initiative.

"This means that council can build on its important work targeting cigarette butt littering which has proven to be a significant issue on our foreshore and across the shire,” Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said.

"This grant from the EPA is timely for council because we also resolved to ban smoking on all shire beaches at our March meeting to demonstrate that we are serious about stopping smoking on the beaches and preventing the litter.”

Incredibly, one in every three pieces of litter on Byron Bay beaches is a cigarette butt, with 4675 butts picked up in Apex Park and on the foreshore in an eight-month period in April 2016.

The new Butt Free Byron Shire will be based on the EPA's four pillars for litter reduction: improving infrastructure including new cigarette butt bins, litter education, targeted enforcement and monitoring hotspots.

Council will begin rolling out the new campaign in June with the installation of some 100 Enviropole Butt Bins across the Byron shire.

Each pole holds 2500 butts and has the technology to extinguish butts as they are put into the bin.

The cigarette butts will be sent to a special recycling plant where they are turned into things like park benches, office equipment and building materials.

"These grants go a long way in getting results for councils with recent examples reducing littering behaviour by over 60 per cent,” Cr Richardson said.

"This funding gives us an opportunity to ramp up our education campaign to locals and visitors, that dropping your litter and your cigarette butts on our streets, foreshores and beaches is absolutely not OK.

"The reality is that this is where the litter ends up, washed into the ocean causing terrible environment damage and threatening the lives of our marine creatures.”

Council will be working with the Australian Lifeguard Service, National Parks and Wildlife Service, North East Waste, Reflections Holiday Parks at Brunswick Heads and the Positive Change for Marine Life group on the Butt Free Byron Shire campaign.

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