Downtown Inc Takes on Scourge of Cigarette Butts

YORK, PA – Downtown Inc is taking on America’s most-littered item: cigarette butts.

Downtown York’s improvement organization has secured 18 cigarette ash receptacles through Keep America Beautiful, a national nonprofit with a mission of inspiring and educating people to take everyday action to improve and beautify their community environment.

With support from Keep America Beautiful and the City of York, Downtown Inc facilitated the installation of 18 cigarette ash receptacles around Downtown York.

With support from Keep America Beautiful and the City of York, Downtown Inc facilitated the installation of 18 cigarette ash receptacles around Downtown York.

The City of York’s Electrical Bureau installed the receptacles around Continental Square and other highly trafficked areas of Downtown York, providing smokers a convenient place to discard their butts. Downtown Inc’s Clean-Up Crew employees will empty the receptacles.

Adding an ash receptacle can make a big difference when it comes to reducing litter. According to Keep America Beautiful, the littering rate for cigarette butts drops 9 percent for every additional ash receptacle, reducing unsightly debris from sidewalks, around shrubs and in planters.

“It seems like a small thing, but when people litter their cigarette butts they’re diminishing the quality of life in our city and presenting an unflattering picture of our community to visitors, prospective businesses and residents,” said Downtown Inc Project Manager Mark Rooney, who manages the Clean-Up Crew. “We know most smokers would dispose of butts properly if given the opportunity, and by providing convenient ash receptacles, we’re giving them a better choice than simply tossing their cigarette butts on the ground.”

Most cigarette butts are littered around “transition points” that include outside retail stores, restaurants, bars, hotels and office buildings, according to Keep America Beautiful. That’s anywhere where a smoker must extinguish his or her cigarette before entering a building or a public space that doesn’t allow smoking.

Downtown Inc is exploring options to install additional receptacles. Businesses with questions may contact Rooney at

In addition to securing the ash receptacles and staffing the Clean-Up Crew with funding assistance from the York County Solid Waste Authority, Downtown Inc’s additional beautification efforts include funding spring flower plantings, lighting improvements, maintenance of public art and more.


An affiliate of the York County Economic Alliance, Downtown Inc is THE organization working to drive, enhance and encourage investment in York’s central business district through economic development, promotions, placemaking and public safety. Downtown Inc is the trade name for a joint venture between the York Business Improvement District Authority and Main Street York, a 501(c)(3) not for profit. Visit for more information.

About Keep America Beautiful: A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. It envisions a country in which every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people End Littering, Improve Recycling and Beautify America's Communities. Learn more at


Andrew Staub
Marketing & Communications Director
Downtown Inc

Silas Chamberlin
Vice President, Economic and Community Development
York County Economic Alliance