Since its inception, the Vancouver Island Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation has been holding monthly beach cleanups along the South coast of Vancouver Island. A wide variety of debris is gathered at cleanups, however, cigarette butts dominate shoreline survey results on our urban shores. They are repeatedly the number one type of debris gathered (by count).

Cigarette butts are also found littering streets, sidewalks and public spaces. These butts not only pose a waste management challenge for local governments, they also can find their way to the marine environment as run off in storm drains. In the marine environment, they pose a significant threat to marine life.

The Environmental Impact of Cigarette Butts:

  1. Cigarette butts are the single greatest source of ocean pollution. More than 5 trillion butts are improperly disposed of in our environment each year.
  2. Cigarette butts leach toxins when wet, posing a threat to marine life.
  3. Cigarette butts take over 25 years to decompose.
  4. When not properly extinguished, cigarette butts pose a significant fire threat.
  5. In 2018, more than 500,000 cigarette butts were removed from local beaches by the Great Canadian Shoreline cleanup.

Map of Existing Butt Canisters

Here you can view an interactive map of all the butt canisters in the City of Victoria. The map data is maintained by the City and takes a little bit of time to load so please be patient.

View Map

In the fall of 2013, Surfrider Vancouver Island launched its Hold On To Your Butt Campaign (HOTYB) in the neighbourhood of Fernwood, by holding a street cleanup of cigarette butts. Within one hour, over 3,000 butts were collected in a six-block radius by 10 volunteers.

If you live in the municipality of Victoria please contact city council to request a butt canister.

Jason Harvey
Supervisor – Street Cleaning
Engineering & Public Works
City of Victoria
417 Garbally Rd
Victoria BC V8T 2J9
T 250.361.0481 C 778.535.6863

If you want to start a program in your own region, contact us and we can help you get started.

Project Lead

Ali Ruddy - Hold On To Your Butt