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Butt out littering in Blacktown

16 June 2017

Blacktown City Council is using street art to encourage smokers to butt out in the Blacktown central business district. 

Western Sydney artist Anton Pulvirenti has created superhero-themed artworks in five locations across the city.

“I wanted to put a positive spin on the message so the smoker would feel like a hero for putting the butt in the bin, rather than feeling bad for leaving it on the ground,” Pulvirenti said.

“The images and words aim to empower the smoker and act as a trigger to encourage them to think about their behaviour.”

One of the images, located at 42 Main Street and made using acrylic paint, depicts a female superhero and contains the message: ‘Be a local hero. Bin your butts’.

Another artwork shows a whale made up of litter and butts washing down a drain, spruiking the slogan: ‘All drains lead to the ocean. Put it in the bin’.

“The piece aims to make people aware the stormwater system is Blacktown’s direct link to the ocean,” Pulvirenti said.

“Litter dropped in Blacktown CBD washes down the drain, along Breakfast Creek, into the Hawkesbury River and then into the ocean.

“Once in contact with water, cigarette butts release hazardous chemicals which are toxic to some aquatic life.”

Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Stephen Bali, said the project aims to encourage smokers to dispose of their butts responsibly in the butt bins. 

“Cigarette butts make up 36 per cent of all litter and are our biggest and longest lasting problem,” he said.

“Because they are made from cellulose acetate and are not biodegradable, they can remain in the environment for up to 10 years.

“This project is about encouraging people to do the right thing through one of the most effective platforms available to us: public street art.”

The project is a NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.

The artworks are the final element of the project, which included installing ‘Butt it and bin it’ signs around the 75 butt bins in Blacktown CBD and a cigarette butt ballot on Main Street.

The five artworks can be seen at various locations in the Blacktown CBD:

  • Male superhero – contains the message ‘Be a local hero. Bin your butts’. Near the Patrick Street entrance to Westpoint.
  • Female superhero – contains the message ‘Be a local hero. Bin your butts’ In front of 42 Main Street.
  • Whale – contains the message ‘All drains lead to the ocean. Put it in the bin.’ Near the Patrick Street entrance to Westpoint.
  • Cyborg artwork – contains the message ‘The bin is within reach. Bin your butts.’ Next to the side entrance of Westpoint on Flushcombe Road.
  • Octopus – contains the message ‘Butts belong in the bin, not in the ocean.’  Out the front of Commonwealth Bank on the corner of Campbell Street and Main Street.

The artworks will remain for the next few weeks or until they wear off.

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