A recycling initiative collected 55,000 cigarette butts during its first six months in the Harbor East neighborhood, according to a news release.
The Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore started the program by installing 15 recycling receptacles and now plans to expand further.
"These large numbers signal the need for even more receptacles in other areas of the waterfront, which we are looking into now," said Eric Souza, the partnership's director of operations. "We hope this simple change can make a big difference for our waterfront community."
The effort is part of the nonprofit's Healthy Harbor Initiative, which aims to make the Harbor swimmable and fishable by 2020. While the organization still faces a sizable amount of work to meet that goal, Souza said it was still "definitely achievable." He hopes to add 12 to 15 more smoking urns in Harbor East by October, helping keep the streets and water cleaner.
"We've been making progress and we have a lot of positive momentum toward that 2020 goal," he said. "These urns are just one more step in the right direction of us accomplishing our mission."
The 15 urns were placed in strategic areas near bars, restaurants, movie theaters and coffee shops. Souza credited the success of the program with its controlled rollout that caught on in usage over the past six months.
The Waterfront Partnership used TerraCycle, an international recycling company, to transform the cigarette waste into useful products, such as compost and shipping pallets. TerraCycle's Cigarette Waste Bridge is a free national recycling program aimed to reduce cigarette waste.