Cigarette butts are the number one littered item in the world. In fact 176,000,000 pounds of cigarette butts are littered every year in the United States. Trying to keep this litter under control takes a considerable amount of resources. In 2012, to combat this problem, Caltrans partnered with Keep Ca Beautiful and Cigarette Pollution Solutions to install “Butt Only Boxes” or BOBs (U.S. Patent No. D618388) at 10 rest stops throughout the state as a pilot program. BOBs are a convenient way for travelers and truckers to properly deposit their cigarette butts. In the first year of this pilot program, Caltrans recovered over 1,000,000 butts that could have made their way to creeks, rivers or the ocean. This year, the state has expanded the program and is installing BOBs in 45 additional rest stops throughout California. Another problem with cigarette butts is the butt may never completely degrade, even when they are discarded legally in a landfill. A new phase of this program will be the “Butts to Watts” program. Caltrans will collect the butts from the BOBs and dispose of them at “Refuse to Energy” plants where the butts will be turned into energy. The department is anticipating that there will be 4 to 5 million butts collected state wide, which is equal to almost twenty 55-gallon drums! So, if you see one of these BOBs out there, please use it. And if you are a truck stop or other location that would like to get a BOB on your own premises, contact Cigarette Pollution Solutions (www.buttsonlybox.com). They also have a complete servicing company, Cigarette Butt Services, which will visit your BOBs (or your current receptacles), on your predetermined schedule, to empty, clean and maintain the appearance of the units. They also provide you with a monthly statement with a total of butts for the month, a daily average, a total for the year and weights collected. So, get your “butt” in gear, and get your butts in the box!
Daniel J. Linss has been with 10-4 Magazine since the beginning in September of 1993 and has been the Editor and Art Director since March of 1994. Over the years, he has also become an owner and one of the main photographers for 10-4 and is well-known for his insightful cover feature articles and honest show reports. Married for over 30 years with three grown children, Daniel produces 10-4 Magazine each and every month from his office in Central California.