We hate cig butts & we cannot lie

Campaign to eliminate cigarette litter energizing in The Cov

COVINGTON, Ky. – The campaign to keep cigarette butts from trashing up Covington’s streets is about to become super visible and super-charged.

Thanks to a grant, a wrap-around ad on a Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky bus will soon tout the slogans “Trash the Cig, NOT the City” and “LOVE The COV, No ‘ifs’ ‘ands’ or ‘butts’ ” as that bus travels throughout the region.


  • The number of cigarette “urns” positioned outside bars and restaurants in Covington will soon double from 23 to 46.
  • Volunteers from the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program -- which is attached to the non-profit Keep Covington Beautiful – will ramp up efforts to distribute rubberized pocket ashtrays to bars to pass along to their customers.
  • The last Covington Clean & Crawl event of the year will be held Nov. 14 (with similar events to follow).
  • And CLPP volunteers will soon hit the streets to do spot surveys of sidewalks in commercial areas to measure cigarette butt litter.

The bus ad will appear in the coming weeks and last at least eight months. Paid for by a grant received from the national Keep America Beautiful organization, its goal is to raise awareness of a campaign that – to be successful – requires significant engagement across the city.

“A cigarette butt is small and throwing it on the ground seems like an insignificant act,” said Megan Clere, a board member from Keep Covington Beautiful. “But when you’re talking about thousands and thousands of butts being flicked on the sidewalk or into a mulched tree well, day in and day out, the collective negative impact on how Covington looks – and on the greater environment – is tremendous.”

Similarly, she said, the way to prevent that preventable impact will require myriad actions and “conversions.”

“We need to persuade every smoker to take that additional step to find a better place to discard that butt, and we need to make it easier for them to do the right thing by installing more urns and distributing more ashtrays throughout Covington,” Clere said.

Keeping Covington clean will require a group effort, including from businesses, said Sheila Fields, Covington’s Solid Waste and Recycling coordinator.

“We need businesses to take action, whether it’s adopting an urn or providing their own disposal equipment for customers and employees, sweeping up sidewalks in front of their buildings and at employee-designated smoking areas, and removing butts from tree wells and flower pots on a regular basis,” Fields said.

“It’s about creating an expectation that butts will be disposed of correctly, and we all have to do our part,” she added. “When you create a culture of clean sidewalks, that kind of thing feeds upon itself and soon becomes a point of pride.”

Individual businesses can get involved in the CLPP program, which has marketing materials that can be distributed, pocket ashtrays that can be passed out, and a social media campaign that can be shared.

Fields said the CLPP team is buoyed by the number of businesses – especially in MainStrasse Village – who have already agreed to participate on some level.

The goal, however, is to expand that energy.


If you or your business would like to join the “Trash the Cig, not the City” effort, visit HERE for more info and email

Why so urgent?

According to Keep America Beautiful and other surveys:

  • Cigarette filters are made of microplastics that take an extremely long time to decompose and in so doing leach harmful chemicals into groundwater.
  • Cigarette butts make up 32 percent of littered items.
  • 75 percent of smokers say they toss their butts on the ground.
  • 41 percent of smokers say they do not have receptacles for their cigarette butts outside their work.
  • For every urn that’s installed, nearby litter decreases by 9 percent.

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