Plastic litter impacts communities across the globe, and can also affect the environment. As the international community comes together to tackle the issue of plastic litter in general, we are playing our part in addressing the issue of plastic and post-consumer waste from our products – particularly cigarette butt litter.
Solving global problems at a local level
As a multinational, we have employees all over the world, meaning we’re ideally placed to help lead local cleanup activities. These serve a number of purposes:
- They demonstrate the size and scale of the issue to the local community, either through participation, or by viewing the number of cigarette butts collected.
- They allow our anti-littering messaging to be shared with the local community, further underscoring the importance of the matter.
- They provide opportunities for us to work together with NGOs, anti-littering organizations and governmental agencies to effectively tackle the issue on a grander scale than would be possible alone.
To mark World Cleanup Day 2019, over 3,900 people from 31 countries took part, including PMI employees, their friends and families, and other volunteers. They picked up 83 tons of waste, including 827,000 cigarette butts..
These cleanups can have a powerful impact on the communities where they take place, and is why we have included them as part of our “Reduce Litter from the Ground” anti-littering strategy.
Our affiliates around the world are also creating their own initiatives to help reduce cigarette butt litter, and to raise awareness of the issue in their local communities.
Through collaboration and the use of innovative and unique technology, our affiliates are inspiring people at a local level to take personal action and help combat cigarette butt litter.
Tabaqueira, PMI’s local affiliate in Portugal, worked in partnership with multiple stakeholders, including the European Blue Flag Association, the Municipality of Oeiras, and rail and infrastructure organizations, to embed its cleanup activity in a wider anti-littering campaign, called #BreakTheHabit.
Tabaqueira employees took part in activities to mark World Cleanup Day, working with the local Sintra Municipality and Movimento Claro (an anti-littering organization). They helped to clean the beach of Praia Grande in Sintra, collecting a total of 115 kilograms of waste, including 17,500 cigarette butts.
The “Leave No Trace” campaign in Austria saw anti-littering messaging displayed on packs of cigarettes and points of sale, encouraging adult smokers to properly dispose of their cigarette butts.
The packs pointed adult smokers to a website encouraging visitors to join an anti-litter challenge. This aimed to collect 25,000 pieces of litter in Vienna. The challenge used innovative mobile technology provided by Litterati – a global community devoted to cleaning the planet – in the form of an app that records data from litter cleanups. The app engages participants, allowing them to monitor their personal contribution to each clean up. It can be scaled up and used across the globe as a way of encouraging participation.
The challenge surpassed its target, with more than 31,000 pieces of litter being geo-tagged and picked up so far in Vienna, with the number of app users in the area tripling.
In Italy, the #Cambiagesto campaign made use of original imagery that appealed to the conscience of smokers to raise awareness of cigarette butt litter. The campaign used information from the latest psychological findings to help select images that would inspire adult smokers to change their habits.
Launched in Palermo, 8,000 recyclable pocket ashtrays in the shape of piggybanks were distributed, while on the surrounding beaches, special bins were provided.
The public were encouraged – via information boards and leaflets pointing to the campaign website – to properly dispose of their cigarette butts. The campaign messaging asked them to consider the world they wanted to create and leave behind for future generations, illustrating the importance of protecting the environment through personal action.
These initiatives are inspiring examples of what can be achieved when a responsible company joins forces with local communities to tackle issues confronting society. Together, we can achieve a better future.