More ashcans installed to combat cigarette litter

A cigarette butt ashcan that was recently installed on the corner of 6th Ave and California

Efforts began this year to clean up those pesky cigarette butts that line the streets of San Francisco, especially the busier commercial corridors here in the Richmond District.

Back in March, a small group of volunteers helped pick up and recycle over 6,000 cigarette butts along outer Balboa in conjunction with Surfrider’s Hold On To Your Butt campaign.

That led to the installation of several ashcans on poles along Balboa between 34th and 38th Avenues in April. The ashcans, provided by the Surfrider Foundation and paid for by the Richmond District Neighborhood Center (RDNC), allow smokers to dispose of their waste safely and cleanly.

The collected butts are shipped to a company called TerraCycle in New Jersey, where they are recycled.

Recently, another set of five ashcans was installed in the inner Richmond along the Clement Street corridor by RDNC staffer Naomi, and volunteers Yves and Brian. The custodians of these cans will be RDNC staffers that work with George Peabody Elementary School on 6th Avenue.

“This will bring awareness and educate the youth about the toxic waste that’s tossed onto our streets, and wrecking havoc onto our environment,” said Pawel Dlugosz who helped spearhead the original ashcan effort in the neighborhood.

Dlugosz says there are plans to install five more cans in the neighborhood.

Sarah B.

The group that helped install ashcans along Clement Street recently

The group that helped install ashcans along Clement Street recently


  1. how about making smoking illegal on clement st, including outside bars and restaurants so we dont have to suck in the cancer smoke and we dont have idiots throwing their trask on our sidewalks

  2. This is a great idea and all the sponsors deserve praise. When I walk around the City streets and really pay attention, I see that cigarette butts are literally everywhere. My only complaint is that these ashcans are not installed at every corner, particularly near all bus stops, and in front of every bar. We could enlist volunteers to “adopt an ashcan” to clean them out regularly just like people “adopt a drain.” I personally think the dog poop everywhere is more disgusting, but I’ve given up all hope on any change in that regard. Hopefully it will be easier to train/educate smokers on how their actions negatively affect others.

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