Beverage Containers Maintain Position As Second Most Littered Item On America's Beaches

News Release

Container Recycling Institute
1911 Ft. Myer Drive, Suite 900
Arlington, Virginia 22209
703/276-9800 fax 276-9587

July 2, 1997
For Immediate Release

Contact: Pat Franklin, 202/797-6839

Beverage Containers Maintain Position As Second Most Littered Item On America's Beaches

WASHINGTON, DC -- If you're headed for the beach this weekend, you can expect to encounter more cigarette butts and beverage containers than any other littered item. The results are in from the 1996 annual beach cleanup sponsored by the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC) and the 608,759 cigarette butts collected topped the list of seventy-five items collected. The data was compiled during fall's cleanup of 5,917 miles of U.S. shoreline.

But, according to the Container Recycling Institute (CRI), beverage containers are gaining ground in the battle for the most littered item on America's shorelines. "You might say that beverage containers are the AVIS of beach litter," said Pat Franklin, Executive Director of CRI. "The 380,213 beverage cans and bottles collected during CMC's annual beach cleanup put that item in second place, but, if cigarette butts continue to decline, we can expect beverage containers to overtake cigarette butts as the number one littered item by the year 2000."

According to CRI's analysis of CMC's data, cigarette butts declined 30 percent last year, while beverage containers dropped less than 4 percent. But, Franklin maintains that measuring litter by piece count is deceiving. "Measuring litter by volume provides a more accurate measurement of the real impact of litter," she said.

CRI did a comparison of beverage containers and cigarette butts by volume, and found that it would take 56 million cigarette butts to fill all the cans and bottles collected during CMC's beach cleanup. "They collected .6 million butts, but they would have needed another 55.4 million butts to fill the 380,213 beverage containers collected," said Franklin.

Franklin pointed out that over 140,667 pieces of glass were found, most of which were from broken beverage bottles. "That is the kind of litter," said Franklin, "that is not only unsightly, but dangerous."

"Cigarette butts are nasty thing to see lying on a beach, or anywhere else," said Franklin, "but let's face it, ten or twenty littered beer bottles or soda cans are a lot more unsightly and take up a lot more beach area than ten or twenty cigarette butts." More importantly," she said, "cigarette butts don't cut bare feet, broken bottles do."

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