ASHES TO AN­SWERS

Re­vealed: Anti-lit­ter­ing plan poses club ques­tion to smok­ers

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Danielle Jarvis

MT DRUITT smok­ers are be­ing en­cour­aged to have a say as they “stash their trash”.

An innovative new bin is tak­ing the anti-lit­ter­ing cam­paign in Aus­tralia to a new level.

The bal­lot bin, tri­alled in the UK last year, asks smok­ers to “vote” with their butts as they de­posit them in a clear two-sided con­tainer.

Over the past two weeks, smok­ers around Daw­son Mall at Mt Druitt have puffed and pon­dered the ques­tion: Who is the bet­ter team, Wan­der­ers or Syd­ney FC?

“I’d def­i­nitely say put it in the Wan­der­ers,” keeper Matt Symes said. At last count the Wan­der­ers were in front.

THE peo­ple of Mt Druitt can now vote with their butts — their cig­a­rette butts, that is.

A bright yel­low bin has been mounted in Daw­son Mall in Mt Druitt with a top­i­cal ques­tion de­signed to en­cour­age the opin­ion­ated to have their say, and two clear win­dows for each an­swer.

The ini­tia­tive is de­signed to en­cour­age smok­ers to put their butts in the bin and stop lit­ter­ing.

A “voter” places a butt in one of two sides of the bin, and the side with the most butts wins.

The first ques­tion was: Who is the bet­ter team — Wan­der­ers or Syd­ney FC?

At the time of our photo, the Wan­der­ers were a few puffs ahead of Syd­ney FC.

The ques­tion will be changed reg­u­larly un­til the bins are taken down in De­cem­ber.

This week’s ques­tion is: AC/DC or Me­tal­lica?

Ac­cord­ing to the 2015-16 Na­tional Lit­ter In­dex, cig­a­rette butts make up 43 per cent of the to­tal lit­ter stream.

About 20 mil­lion cig­a­rette butts are dropped around Aus­tralia daily (seven bil­lion a year), cost­ing taxpay­ers a whop­ping $350 mil­lion.

Keep Aus­tralia Beau­ti­ful chief ex­ec­u­tive Philip Robin­son said all Aus­tralians, whether smok­ing or non­smok­ing, should en­sure they put their rub­bish in the bin.

“Lit­ter is every­one’s prob­lem and we all need to work to­gether to tackle the is­sue,” Mr Robin­son said.

“Cig­a­rette butts might be small, but it’s a big prob­lem for Aus­tralia.”

The bin re­ceived a mixed re­ac­tion from res­i­dents but Belinda Fla­herty, of Mt Druitt, said it was a great idea.

I think peo­ple need to take more pride in their area and try to keep it a bit ti­dier than what it is

“It keeps the stuff off the ground,” Ms Fla­herty said.

“I think peo­ple need to take more pride in their area and try to keep it a bit ti­dier than what it is.”

While the Western Syd­ney Wan­der­ers do not en­cour­age smok­ing, goal­keeper Matthew Symes urged smok­ers to do the right thing.

“There’s noth­ing bet­ter than liv­ing in a clean healthy coun­try,” Symes said.

“If you had to put (your butt) in one of these, I def­i­nitely say put it in the Wan­der­ers.”

Black­town Mayor Stephen Bali said he hoped the idea would re­duce the fi­nan­cial bur­den on coun­cil.

“A ‘bal­lot bin’ ... is one of the innovative meth­ods in­tro­duced in Black­town in a bid to re­duce the $14.78 mil­lion spent by Western Syd­ney coun­cils ev­ery year on lit­ter,” Cr Bali said.

The bal­lot bin cam­paign was first tri­alled by Hub­bub in the UK as part of the Neat Streets pro­gram in 2015 and was launched in the Black­town Coun­cil LGA as part of Keep Aus­tralia Beau­ti­ful Week 2016.

An­other bal­lot bin is lo­cate ed near the post of­fice in M Main St, Black­town.

Pic­ture: David Swift

Western Syd­ney Wan­der­ers goal­keeper Matthew Symes gives the new Butt Bin in Daw­son Mall, at Mt Druitt, a thumbs-up.

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