Say hello to the Kick Butts Collaborative. We are a collective in Western New and the Great Lakes basin including Buffalo-Niagara Waterkeeper, Buffalo Niagara Greenway, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Buffalo Sewer Authority, Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, Community Canvases, Hamburg Butt Kickers, WNY Trash Mob, City of Buffalo Reuse and Recycling, Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. We catalyze the skills and experience of each partner to empower citizen action for a cleaner, greener, butt-free community both now and for generations to come.

Why do we Collaborate?

Because 766,571 metric tons of cigarette butts – the number one littered item in the world — make their way into the environment every year. Locally, data from the Great Lakes Watershed Cleanup conducted by Ocean Conservancy indicates that more than 300,000 cigarette butts (35.3% of all items recovered) were collected from the Great Lakes in 2019. That makes them the number one littered item in these precious bodies of fresh water as well.

But there’s more to it than just numbers. When left in the environment, littered cigarette butts leach toxic chemicals—such as arsenic (used to kill rats) and lead, to name a few—that may carried as runoff to drains and end up polluting our rivers and lakes right here in Western New York. Because cigarette butts are primarily made of plastic filters that don’t biodegrade, the butts that aren’t eaten by wildlife simply pile up on shorelines or at the bottom of bodies of water.

It’s time to kick butts out of our community! To find out how you can get involved with the Kick Butts Collaborative, contact Jenna Brinkworth, Community Engagement Director of Tobacco-Free Roswell Park at 845-1615. Or visit tobaccofreewny.com.