PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The city of Portland and business leaders instituted a new program Thursday intended to remove and reduce cigarette butts on city streets, many of which end up in Casco Bay.
"Businesses and residents have long expressed their concerns to city officials about cigarette butts littering our streets and sidewalks," said Portland City Councilor Cheryl Leeman.
Spartan Grill owner Mike Roylos made the "Sidewalk Buttlers" which give people a place to dispose of the butts. Almost 70 "buttlers" are installed on posts and poles on the peninsula. Local businesses and organizations donated the funds for the "buttlers," which cost $59 each.
"It doesn't require any sidewalk real estate, is vandal-resistant, and does not hinder sweeping or snow removal," said Roylos.
The Natural Resources Council of Maine says that butts consist of 38 percent of roadside litter. Americans for Nonsmokers Rights' says that worldwide, an estimated 1.69 billion pounds of butts wind us as trash. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and contain many toxic chemicals, several of which are carcinogens. Studies show that cigarette butts in the ocean are toxic to fish and other marine life.
The city's Public Services Department will train a Workfare recipients to remove the trash from the "buttlers." The city will store the trash at the Spring Street Garage and then will ship the butts to TerraCycle, a company that makes plastic pellets out of butts.