Downtown Chapel Hill

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Downtown Partnership Awarded Grant to Combat Cigarette Butts



The bad news is that cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item downtown. The good news is that the presence of ash receptacles correlates with lower rates of littering!

To fight the cigarette butt litter the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership has been awarded a $1000 grant from Keep America Beautiful to install permanent ash receptacles on Franklin Street. And the Downtown Partnership welcomes community volunteers to help in the effort.   

On Wednesday, June 22 at 9:30 the agency will conduct the first Cigarette Butt Scan, to count the cigarette butts that have been thrown on the sidewalk, in the gutter, and in tree planters. Volunteers will meet at the corner of Franklin Street and Columbia Street, near Spanky's Restaurant (101 East Franklin Street).

Based on the data produced by the scan, the Downtown Partnership, working with the Town of Chapel Hill, will install permanent receptacles in those areas with the highest amount of litter. Follow up scans will be conducted periodically. Also, downtown businesses will be offered pocket ashtrays to distribute to customers in another effort to encourage people to not throw butts on the ground.  

The Downtown Partnership received a similar grant in 2008 and provided twelve businesses with ash receptacles to be used outside their front doors. Following up on the success of 2008, this grant takes the fight against litter one step further by ensuring permanent receptacles are installed in the highest foot-traffic areas. 

Along with installing the receptacles, the Downtown Partnership continues to conduct regular clean ups and partner with local organizations to educate the community on not littering.  More information on cigarette butt litter - click here.

For more information please contact Meg McGurk at 919-967-9440 or



Bobby Funk