A NEW campaign is being launched across Dorset in an effort to encourage smokers to bin their butts.

Organised by Litter Free Dorset, the campaign has been targeted at Ferndown and Swanage – hotspot areas for cigarette butt littering in Dorset.

A baseline audit in Ferndown found 679 butts were dropped along Victoria Road in 24 hours. Over 1,500 were dropped along a 0.2-mile stretch of Swanage High Street.

Litter Free Dorset approached businesses in Ferndown in the run up to the Bin Your Butt! campaign to encourage them to get involved.

Traders are raising awareness of the issue by displaying posters, providing bins for smokers, and handing out personal ‘stubby bins’ – small pouches which hold cigarette butts.

Charlie Wild, Litter Free Dorset project officer, said the campaign was “not anti-smoking but encouraging people what they should do with their butts”.

“Litter Free Dorset sat down with businesses and community groups to ask them what issue they wanted us to look at – cigarette butts and roadside litter came out top.

“We spoke to Dorset Waste Partnership and their street sweepers who helped us gather data about the number of cigarette butts being dropped.

“We’re encouraging people to put butts in the bin or into personal ashtrays. Some people think cigarette filters are biodegradable, but they contain plastic which never disappears and a lot of chemicals. When they’re dropped or washed down street drains, they can flow directly into the river or sea with no interception.”

To highlight their campaign, Litter Free Dorset teamed up with voluntary litter picking group Dorset Devils and Cllr Steve Lugg in Ferndown town centre on Tuesday.

Surrounded by eye-catching, giant cigarettes, the group spoke to members of the public and handed out informative leaflets and free stubby bins.

“We got people to understand about littering and presented them with solutions for disposing of their cigarette butts.

“We’re putting information packs together to give out to community groups to spread the campaign further,” Charlie added.

Litter Free Dorset will bring the campaign to Swanage soon.