New cigarette recycling boxes in downtown Kamloops are helping keep sidewalks clean | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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New cigarette recycling boxes in downtown Kamloops are helping keep sidewalks clean

Ten of these cigarette recycling boxes can be found in downtown Kamloops.
August 24, 2017 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - Business owners and patrons of downtown Kamloops have had cleaner sidewalks over the past month thanks to a new program that recycles cigarette butts.

Downtown Customer Care and Patrol team member Nathan Bymoen says they, along with support from City Hall, have partnered with a company called TerraCycle out of Vancouver to collect cigarette butts from newly installed recycling boxes in exchange for cash that goes back to the city for sustainability initiatives.

"The way it works is for every three pounds of cigarette butts we recycle we get one dollar back," he says. "So it's not like we are just collecting the cigarettes and then throwing them out. We collect them, we ship them back with free shipping to TerraCycle, and they recycle them 100 per cent."

There are ten boxes set up downtown on the 200 to 400 blocks of Victoria Street as well as in front of CJ's on 5 Avenue and the Central Station Pub on 4 Avenue.

"We've got those ones on the avenues because those places have a high volume of people on the weekend standing around outside smoking a cigarette," he says. "We figured those would be good places where people would be able to see it. So far that's proven to be true."

Bymoen says business owners on Victoria Street have been loving the new program and it has made a noticeable difference in the areas where the boxes have been installed.

"So far the response has been great," he says. "We've heard from a lot of businesses that wanted to get their own key for it so they can empty it themselves and get it back to us because they were filling up quicker than we expected them to."

There's only one thing downtown merchant Nicki James, the manager of Main Street Clothing, would change about the boxes. She says she is completely on board with the idea to install the boxes, but she still finds herself sweeping up butts in front of her store despite a unit being directly outside her door.

"I don't think people notice them as much," she says. "Maybe it needs to be brighter. Even if it had a better sign on it or something to catch your attention that's funny. Not to insult but just funny or something. When I first saw it I thought 'it's some kind of solar thing.'"

Bymoen says increasing awareness around the new initiative is taking some time.

"That's something we've tried to address from the beginning and I think it's an ongoing process," he says. "We've been promoting them on our social media and at events as well. If there's an event downtown we try to let people know."

If the ten bins are well used and more are needed, Kamloops could start seeing more of them popping up around the city. Bymoen says he hopes to be able to bring more to the downtown core.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Mike McDonald or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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