Georgia Coast-wide Cigarette Litter Outreach Program: GEORGIA’S COAST IS NOT AN ASHTRAY

Georgia Coast-wide Cigarette Litter Outreach Program: GEORGIA’S COAST IS NOT AN ASHTRAY

In an unprecedented effort, entities in Georgia’s six coastal counties joined together to battle the nation’s number one most littered item: cigarette butts. Providing comprehensive coverage of Georgia’s coastal area, Tybee Clean Beach Volunteers, the City of Tybee Island, Keep Savannah Beautiful, Keep McIntosh Beautiful, Keep Camden Beautiful, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, Keep Liberty Beautiful, Fort McAllister State Park and Crooked River State Park united in a coast-wide cigarette litter awareness educational initiative: Georgia’s Coast is Not an Ashtray.

Made of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic, cigarette butts do not easily biodegrade.  Discarded butts have a negative impact as land litter, but once blown into storm drains or tossed directly into water sources, this toxic litter becomes marine debris, leaching chemicals into marine and aquatic environments and potentially being ingested by those inhabitants. With coastal Georgia’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean as well as its abundance of streams, rivers, lakes, creeks, salt and freshwater marshes and ponds, the coast-wide initiative focuses on cigarette butts in relation to coastal water bodies.

Funded by a $15,000 Keep America Beautiful cigarette litter prevention program grant, the three-month initiative consisted of cigarette waste receptacle and signage placement, radio public service announcements, social media promotion, educational video development, business signage placement, drink coaster outreach and pocket/car ash tray distribution. 

While simultaneous project-specific outreach activities occurred in all six coastal counties during the June-August 2018 effort, community-specific outreach activities were encouraged as well and are ongoing. In total, the following was accomplished in Georgia’s ocean-bordering counties during the three-month project period: 

  • 81 free standing and pole mounted cigarette receptacles placed near water bodies in public spaces
  • 27,000 messaged drink coasters used in the August 24th outreach effort at 128 restaurants and pubs
  • 3 radio public service announcements generated and aired
  • 3 print media press releases generated and printed
  • 280 business project signs placed
  • 70 metal project signs used 
  • 3 professionally produced videos created
  • 3 project graphic arts pieces generated 
  • 34 print and online media clips appeared
  • 2 radio news coverage pieces aired via PBS/ GPB
  • 500 cup ashtrays distributed
  • 500 pocket ashtrays distributed
  • 25 outreach activities conducted

Project Videos:

Click HERE to hear the Georgia’s Coast is Not an Ashtray Georgia Public Broadcasting radio segment.

For more Georgia’s Coast is Not an Ashtray program info, contact: Keep Golden Isles Beautiful at or 279-1490.