OCEAN CITY – Two grants totaling $3,000 are expected to help the Maryland Coastal Bays Program implement a cigarette butt recycling initiative in Ocean City.
This week, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) announced it had received a $2,000 grant from the Worcester County Health Department and a $1,000 grant from Walmart to purchase cigarette waste receptacles, which will be donated to resort businesses that agree to recycle collected cigarette butts.
Sandi Smith, development and marketing coordinator for MCBP, said the organization will work with TerraCycle to recycle the butts. The company provides free shipping and donates a dollar to the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program for every pound of discarded cigarettes that are collected.
Smith said the town also received a $2,000 grant from the health department to purchase cigarette waste receptacles for areas to the west of the Boardwalk. She said both initiatives complement each other in that they designate specific smoking and disposal areas and reduce cigarette litter commonly found throughout the resort.
“Both programs focus on second-hand smoke and encourages responsible smoking areas,” she said. “That’s the goal.”
Smith explained the initiative is part of a larger source reduction program MCBP is taking the lead on through the Ocean City Coastal Resources Legislative Committee, or Green Team, and will allow the town to join in on the recycling effort.
“If a business does not want to ship the cigarette butts off themselves, they can drop off the discarded butts to a location in town, where they will be combined with the town’s collection of butts and recycled,” she said.
Smith noted MCBP is partnering with the Worcester County Drug Court, which will provide volunteers to box the cigarette butts.
Smith said MCBP will purchase 30 receptacles with the grant money and will distribute the containers to businesses on a first-come, first-serve basis. She added that each receptacle will come with custom labels promoting the initiative.
“The receptacles are not available just yet because we have to create the labels and draft a pledge for businesses to sign,” she said. “So anyone with a tasteful slogan or campaign message can contact me.”
MCBP is also partnering with local organizations to launch an incentive program that recognizes resort businesses who reduce plastic and Styrofoam use.
“We are excited to take the lead, but it’s a collaborative effort among everybody,” she said. “It’s starting off as baby steps right now but those baby steps can become big steps almost overnight.”