• Wendy Gorski

Cigarette Butt and Storm Drain Crusade

Cigarette butts on downtown Stillwater sidewalks have become a problem outside bars and restaurants and wherever people gather outside. Many of these discarded butts end up going down our storm drains into the river. What harm are they to the river? Each one has a microplastic fiber filter that contains toxic chemicals. These butts and the toxins enter the environment and are often mistaken for food by birds, fish, and other creatures. 


But there is hope! Thanks to the effort of Sustainable Stillwater, Keep America Beautiful is giving our city free cigarette disposal containers, paid for by Philip Morris. And a new ordinance requiring downtown establishments to keep their sidewalks and grounds clean of butts is being added to the city code. If your business or establishment would like one of these free cigarette disposal units, let us know by sending an email to sustainablestillwatermn@gmail.com . Cameron and Renee Murray, who live in a downtown condo, have regularly picked up butts and sidewalk trash on Sunday mornings. Thank you to establishments that put cig butt wastebins on their sidewalks, but more effort is needed. Cameron has asked the City Council for a new ordinance requiring businesses to keep the areas outside their establishments clean of butts. The Council approved!



So to help the businesses, the Murrays are stenciling storm drains downtown with a warning: "No Dumping, Drains to River." We applaud their efforts - these folks exemplify civic pride and a can-do attitude. SSMN is fortunate to have Cameron and Renee as new members. Our Natural Resources Team will work with them this fall to organize storm drain stenciling on the rest of downtown and in Stillwater neighborhoods.


Care to join our stenciling parties? Contact us at sustainablestillwatermn@gmail.com .

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