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Green Team encourages residents to join month long Butt Blitz

EnvironmentGreen Team encourages residents to join month long Butt Blitz

Brantford’s Green Team will be joining thousands of volunteers from across Canada as they participate in a Greener Future’s Butt Blitz challenge from April 1 to April 30, 2024.

A Greener Future is a Toronto-based, non-profit organization, that has been hosting the month-long event since 2014, and in the past decade, 4,116,383 cigarette butts have been collected from various cities and provinces from all over the country.

Karleigh Csordas, a Green Team volunteer, first discovered and participated in the month-long Butt Blitz back in 2021, managing to pick up a total of 28,300 cigarette butts throughout the city alongside a group of like-minded people.

In 2023, Csordas brought on Taylor Edwards, another Green Team volunteer, to help lead and organize the Brantford Team, and together the group picked up 50,000 used cigarette filters, nearly doubling the numbers from their first year.

Team Brantford poses for a photo during last year’s Butt Blitz flagship event in Harmony Square. Photo courtesy Brantford Green Team.

The city’s Green Team are now inviting members of the public to join Team Brantford as they prepare to hit the streets in 2024.

“This year, I brought it forward to the Green Team board and I think that it’s going to be an even bigger event now that we can do it under a Green Team umbrella,” said Csordas. “It’s just super, super exciting and we’re hoping to pick up even more this year.”

Csordas said that for those interested in getting involved, they are welcome to pick up the littered cigarette butts either individually, or during Team Brantford’s weekly cleanups.

“The idea here is that anybody who wants to participate, can make it what they want,” she said. “You can go out at any time during the month of April and clean up by yourself, maybe while taking your dog out for a walk, or you can even go out with a group of friends. We’ll also be hosting weekly cleanups, as well as one big flagship event in Brantford on Sunday, April 7 from noon to 5:00 p.m. in Harmony Square.”

Taylor Edwards, Green Team volunteer, transfers a mason jar of cigarette butts into a large bin during last year’s Butt Blitz flagship event in Harmony Square. Photo courtesy Brantford Green Team.

She said that volunteers are not required to attend the full length of the flagship event and that it will operate as more of a pop-in style event where people can join in whenever they have the chance throughout the day.

The Green Team volunteer gave a big shout out to both Larry Brock, MP for Brantford-Brant, and Mandy Samwell, Councillor for Ward five, as the two have participated in several Butt Blitz events in the past, including last year’s flagship event.

Green Team volunteers Taylor Edwards and Karleigh Csordas pose for a photo alongside Larry Brock, MP for Brantford-Brant during last year’s Butt Blitz flagship event in Harmony Square. Photo courtesy Brantford Green Team.

Csordas said that to get involved, the first step is to simply register.

“To join us as a Butt Blitz volunteer, people can register by visiting https://form-can.keela.co/butt-blitz-spring-2024-volunteer-form and filling out the form, or by emailing brantfordgreenteam@gmail.com” she said. “If they choose to email us, we’ll be more than happy to send them the form to fill out. When you sign up, you’ll get an email asking if you have a litter picker, gloves and a mason jar from any previous year you participated in, and if it’s your first time, all those items will be supplied ahead of time.”

Throughout the month Csordas said that volunteers can bring their mason jar of collected cigarette butts to a drop off location, or they can choose to drop it off at one of the weekly cleanups. As well, volunteers can also drop their jar off at the flagship event on April 7, 2024.

“We’ll bring a big bucket to every weekly cleanup (the location will be communicated through email) so everyone can bring whatever cigarette butts they’ve collected and put it in the big container,” she said. “At the end of the month we transfer that into a big recycling bag and in a cardboard box, and then A Greener Future sends us a label and we ship it off to TerraCycle for free.”

Taylor Edwards, a Green Team volunteer, shows off a bag of littered cigarette butts from last year’s month-long Butt Blitz. Photo courtesy Brantford Green Team.

She noted that once the butts go off to TerraCycle, the organization recycles them by taking apart each cigarette and melting the hard plastics found in the filters and re-molding them into industrial products while composting the rest.

Csordas said that while the event is held with the intention of cleaning up the environment, it’s all about raising awareness.

“We’re not shaming anybody who smokes cigarettes at all,” she said. “It’s really about bringing awareness to the plastics that are in cigarettes and how they are leaching into the environment because it’s the plastic in these filters that are the reason the butts don’t fully break down.”

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