New ‘ballot’ butt bins aims to keep the Borough clean and change people’s smoking habits

With January being a popular time for making resolutions, Hackney Council is hoping to encourage people who smoke, to not only think about their habit, but also what they do with their cigarette butts.

New ‘ballot’ bins have been installed that prompt people to dispose of their cigarette butts, by answering a ‘yes/ no’ question such as ‘Did you know vaping is 95% safer than smoking?’

The new bins have been placed in Hoxton Square and Mark Street Gardens in Shoreditch, two green spaces which suffer from high levels of smoking-related litter.

Mathis Brunovs who works in Hackney, said: “I think they are a good way of trying to get people to put cigarettes in the right place. For me, I really hate looking at butts on the street so I try to put mine in the trash can. But this is a great initiative because it might help change people’s habits.”

The ‘ballot’ bins are part of a range of measures to help keep areas and green spaces clean across Hackney.

A fine of £70 can be issued to anyone who is caught dropping their cigarette butts or any other smoking-related litter on the ground. To help avoid this, special pouches will be given out in January to members of the public, to help them dispose of their smoking-related rubbish responsibly. The pouches also include details about the Hackney Stop Smoking Service, for smokers who are interested in quitting.

Homerton Grove has been made Hackney’s first voluntary smoke-free park and will support Homerton Hospital’s new smoking ban for all staff, visitors and patients.

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Devolution said: “We have been working with Homerton Hospital for the past 12 months to prepare for the smoking ban and have introduced a voluntary smoking ban in Homerton Grove. We have also stepped up patrols by our street cleaning teams in areas surrounding the hospital, to ensure they are kept clean of any smoking-related litter.

“Introducing the new ‘ballot’ bins and pouches is about more than keeping our community areas clean. They are also effective measures to raise awareness of the support and advice available for people who want to quit cigarettes for good. Smoking costs Hackney £65 million a year, killing more than 200 people. It is vital we do everything we can to bring those numbers down.”

Last year more than 1,500 people successfully quit smoking through the Hackney Stop Smoking Service. Advisors and clinics are available in various locations across the Borough and there is advice and support on using different stop smoking aids such as e-cigarettes to start cutting down.

Smoking is still the single biggest leading cause of preventable disease and death in Hackney, killing more than 200 people a year.

For confidential, expert advice and where to find support to stop smoking, contact Hackney’s Stop Smoking Service on 0800 046 9946 or 020 3316 1085 or go to www.smokefreehackney.org