By Andrew Starke

The Butt Littering Trust has released new research on cigarette butt littering to coincide with its rebranding as Butt Free Australia.

Currently, nearly one in two of all items found in the litter stream are cigarette butts (according the Keep Australia Beautiful National Litter Index) and the research ‘Understanding attitudes & behaviour behind cigarette butt littering’ was commissioned to help Butt Free Australia reduce this number.

The national research, which was undertaken by Millward Brown, was released to coincide with the launch of the trust’s new brand and website, which went live earlier this month.

The research suggests that there are three key segments amongst butt litterers, who can be grouped into “apologists”, “rationalists” and “defensives”. 

 It suggests it will be easier to change the behaviour of the “apologists” (labelled because of their apologetic attitude to the problem), who are often married females, aged between 35-44, often mothers of young children than it will the “defensives”. 

“Defensives” most often are older, degree-educated men and labelled the defensives because of their very hardened attitude to social responsibility and unwillingness to take any measures to minimise their impact on the environment generally.

In between these groups are the “rationalists”, who make up 54 percent of butt litterers, (compared with 39 percent “apologists” and 6 percent “defensives”) whose littering behaviour is largely unconscious. 

The research found that this group, which is most often comprised of young, single, employed men, aged between 18 and 24 years, is surprised by the frequency of their littering.

The research revealed that the same key messages that resonated with all three groups – understanding that butts can cause bushfires; being appalled at the idea of a small child putting a butt in their mouth; having concerns about butts being washed into waterways; and being dismayed learning that butts can be found in the stomachs of birds and wildlife were all motivating to change butt littering behaviour.

Under the newly launched Butt Free Australia brand, the Trust will use these findings to launch a national awareness raising campaign in early 2010 that will highlight the environmental impact of cigarette butt littering and encourage people to ‘butt it then bin it’.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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