For the last eight years, the Vancouver Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has been holding monthly beach cleanups at different beaches along the South coast of Vancouver Island. A wide variety of debris is gathered at cleanups; however, cigarette butts dominate shoreline survey results at urban cleanups. They are repeatedly the number one type of debris gathered (by count).

In fall of 2013, Surfrider Vancouver Island launched its Hold On To Your Butt Campaign (HOTYB) in the neighborhood of Fernwood, by holding a street cleanup of cigarette butts. Over 3,000 butts were collected in a six-block radius, within an hour by 10 volunteers. Building off the success of this cleanup and other HOTYB Surfrider Chapter campaigns on the West Coast, Surfrider Vancouver Island is developing a broad HOYTB campaign to address this chronic local issue.

Ash Can pilot program brought to you by the DVBA, the CoV and SFVI! 

Surfrider Foundation Vancouver Island, the Downtown Victoria Business Association and the City of Victoria are teaming up for a pilot program to keep butts off our streets, out of storm water systems and off beaches. This spring 20 easily identifiable cigarette disposal canisters (ash cans) have been installed throughout downtown Victoria, offering the public a responsible butt disposal option!

Cigarette butts make up a large percentage of litter on city streets.  Having cleaner streets is the most direct goal of this program, but the beaches will also benefit.  The journey of cigarette butts from the streets, through the stormwater system and out to Victoria’s beaches isn’t top of mind for many people, but when the butts are blown or flushed into the over 5,700 catchbasins and storm drains throughout Victoria, the shoreline is where they end up.  Beyond littering the beaches, the toxins in cigarettes leach out when wet and pose a threat to marine life.

The pilot project involves the purchase and installation of 20 cigarette butt canisters in targeted areas throughout downtown Victoria.  As of July 2014, we have reached our goal!! 20 canisters have been installed throughout the downtown core!

The Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) and the City of Victoria are sponsoring the purchase of the canisters and the DVBA’s Clean Team will empty the canisters as part of their daily rounds throughout the downtown.  This pilot program has been led by members of the Vancouver Island chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

Is your business currently participating in the pilot program? Does your ash can need service or maintenance? If yes, please email

Would your business like to sponsor or buy an ash can? If yes, awesome! Please contact