Council wins $100,000 EPA grant for a Butt Free Byron Shire

Published on 13 April 2018

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Byron Shire Council’s ‘Smoke Free Byron Beaches’ campaign has just been boosted by 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.

One in every three pieces of litter on Byron Bay beaches is a cigarette butt with 4,675 butts picked up in Apex Park and on the foreshore in an eight-month period in April 2016.

The new campaign, called 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 2,500 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.

“We know, through the solid evidence-base provided by the EPA, that these grants go a long way in getting results for councils – with recent examples reducing littering behaviour by over 60 per cent,” Byron Shire Mayor Simon 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 okay.

“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,” he 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,” Mayor Richardson said.

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.

About the EPA’s Council Litter Prevention Grants Program

The EPA’s Council Litter Prevention Grants program has been operating since 2014 and helps in achieving long-term goals for litter reduction in NSW. 

Litter grants are funded by the five-year $465.7 million Waste Less, Recycle More initiative with recent local grant recipients achieving an average reduction in litter in targeted sites of more than 60 per cent.

For more information contact Waste Compliance and Education Officer, Kate Akkerman, on 6626 7249.