Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has begun trialling ‘ballot bins’ within the town centres of Armagh, Banbridge and Lurgan, in an effort to change cigarette littering behaviour across the borough.
The scourge of cigarette butts littering pavements across the borough has been a constant battle for the council.
Various measures, including large fines, have been introduced and it is hoped the new ‘ballot bins’ will be a fun way to remove some of the litter.
Ballot bins are customisable ashtray bins, which use a voting system to encourage people to use them. Posing questions about topics such as favourite films or music, the bins allow users to vote for their preferred answer by choosing one of the two containers, with a window in the bin displaying which choice is winning.
The bins - just one aspect of council’s Clean Neighbourhoods Action Plan - are designed to be a fun way to get people engaged in putting cigarette butts in a bin rather than just stubbing them out on the pavement without thinking.
Trial bins have been located at Church Square, Banbridge; William Street, Lurgan and Dobbin Street/Thomas Street junction, Armagh.
The council hopes that by introducing ballot bins in targeted areas, smoking related litter will be significantly reduced in the long term.
Welcoming the introduction of the new bins, Chair of the council’s Environmental Services Committee, Alderman Elizabeth Ingram commented: “It is great to see the trialling of these ballot bins across the borough. We hope that by engaging with smokers in this innovative way, we can encourage them to make responsible choices about how they dispose of their cigarette litter and that people will be more aware of their actions in the future.”
With three ballot bins in place, the council is planning to install further bins at other target areas across the borough in the New Year.
Surveys have shown that cigarette litter is Northern Ireland’s most common type of litter, being present on over 80 per cent of streets. It has a negative impact on the environment and local communities.