In Bogotá, a city of around 10 million people, cigarette butts on the sidewalks of the city are a common sight.
To combat this, in 2022, Coltabaco S.A.S., Philip Morris International´s affiliate in Colombia, launched a pilot project called “Bogotá No es un Cenicero” (Bogotá is Not an Ashtray), collaborating with the public sector, civil society, and the private sector.
In a bid to keep cigarette butts off the streets of the city, the three-month pilot project aimed to educate adult smokers across Colombia’s capital and encourage behavioral change—ensuring that cigarette butts weren’t littered in public areas but were instead disposed of properly.
Through a robust, three-pronged approach, temporary interactive eye-level cigarette butt bins were installed to encourage adult smokers to be more engaged when disposing of their used cigarette butts.
This was coupled with a large-scale educational campaign and numerous strategic partnerships.
The project proved to be a success, with a marked change in adult smokers’ behaviors around cigarette disposal in the areas of the city where the pilot took place.
The results of the pilot project show a massive 80 percent reduction in cigarette butts disposed of in the areas where the pilot was conducted, (covering 51,217 square meters). compared to the levels recorded at the start of the project. In addition, over 16,000 cigarette butts were collected from bins located in the pilot area.
Although there are other variables to be considered in this reporting—with less cigarettes disposed of in the streets, sidewalks, parks, and “Parque de los Hippies,” where the pilot was conducted—the team has been inspired and expanded the project to two new parts of the city in 2023.