This Ashtray Encourages Public Engagement, Keeps Streets Clean From Cigarette Butts

The unique solution invites smokers to cast their vote on a changeable topic by inserting their cigarette butt into one of two chambers.

Cigarette butts are a problem in many cities around the world with many smokers throwing them left and right. And so a novel solution was invented to help tackle this, essentially waste problem, while also engaging the smoker population.

Called Ballot Bin, it was originally built as a one-off installation to incentivize people to correctly dispose of their cigarette butts. Commissioned by Hubbub and Westminster council as part of their wider Neat Streets campaign, the bin invites users to cast their vote on a changeable topic by inserting their cigarette butt into one of two chambers.

The idea came from noticing a trend towards polling or asking questions across social media to drive high-engagement with a brand or topic. And so the team behind what will become the Ballot Bot set to implement this trentinto a physical installation that was customizable, engaging and playful, but without any technology or moving parts, and with minimal upkeep.

Not only did the installation contribute to a reduction of litter, it also helped highlight the wider issue of cigarette butts — which is estimated to cost the city of London approximately £3.8M a year to clean. Cigarette butts make up for one-third of all litter in the UK and can be found in almost all town center streets. Retail areas have four times as many cigarette litter as main roads.

Anti-rust and weatherproof, the Ballot Bin has proven to reduce cigarette litter on busy streets by 46%.

After the success of the campaign, the bin got redesigned for manufacture at scale by Instrument PD. The new design is made from powder-coated steel and reinforced glass, and a changeable magnetic sign to allow easily updatable questions through whiteboard marker or magnetic lettering. The Ballot Bin can be mounted to a pole with the fixing provided, or even directly onto a wall. Also available are fixings to mount it onto railings.

The bin is available to buy online, which has allowed the bin to be shipped globally. Among the company’s customers are such well known brands as Sky, McDonald’s, Ikea, UCL and H&M.

Takeaway

The Ballot Bin is a customizable ashtray that has proven to reduce cigarette butt litter by 46%. Each unit displays a question and two answers, with smokers voting by putting their cigarette butt in the slots underneath their preferred answer. The litter stacks up behind the clear glass front in two columns, showing which answer is more popular.

The questions can be easily changed by the Ballot Bin operator. They can be funny, topical, provocative - or whatever works for your audience.

Smokers find the Ballot Bins much more engaging than alternative ashtrays and are more likely to use them.
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Action point

FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS:
Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter in the world, with an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts thrown away every year. These butts not only leak harmful toxins into the environment, young children and wildlife are also at risk from ingesting them. However, studies show that proposals to decrease cigarette butt pollution have been largely ineffective across the world, with cigarette butts consistently being the single most collected item in beach clean-ups and litter surveys. Ballot Bin helps solve this problem, offering a cost-effective way for any city to tackle the issue while providing a simple avenue to engage the smoker population. As such, it should be an easy sell for any local official.

FOR BUSINESSES:
Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter in the world, with an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts thrown away every year. These butts not only leak harmful toxins into the environment, young children and wildlife are also at risk from ingesting them. However, studies show that proposals to decrease cigarette butt pollution have been largely ineffective across the world, with cigarette butts consistently being the single most collected item in beach clean-ups and litter surveys. Ballot Bin helps solve this problem, offering a cost-effective way for any city to tackle the issue while providing a simple avenue to engage the smoker population. As such, it should be an easy sell for any business looking to offer it in their own municipality.