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Local group’s donation helps keep city park and pier free of cigarette butts

Post Date:04/12/2019 2:00 PM

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A cigarette smoked on the beach could end up as part of a bench used by beach-goers through a new recycling initiative through Keep Panama City Beach Beautiful.

The Panama City Beach Parks and Recreation Department has received a donation of 18 cigarette receptacles to help keep our parks and beaches free from cigarette butts. The receptacles, donated by Keep Panama City Beach Beautiful, have been placed at high usage parks areas. 

Receptacles were mounted at the dog parks and four of the baseball fields at Frank Brown Park, and at six beach public access points – entrances 53-58 – along the boardwalk at Russell-Fields Pier. Another six are located on the pier.

In addition to the donation, valued at approximately $1,800, the group has also volunteered to empty the receptacles year-round on a weekly basis. They will be emptied twice weekly during the months of June and July.

Keep PCB Beautiful President JoAnn Weatherford said the organization is recycling the butts through a company called TerraCycle.  

“They will donate $1 to Keep America Beautiful for every pound we collect,” said Weatherford. “This company recycles the cigarette litter into benches and other items.”

Keep PCB Beautiful plans to acquire additional receptacles for installation at some of the busier beach accesses including St. Andrews State Park and Camp Helen State Park and at some restaurants with beach access.

“We will also be distributing cigarette litter prevention information at the condo complexes and hotels in the near future,” she said. “As funding becomes available, we hope to have a billboard campaign coming on line also.”

Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ponek said he appreciates the group’s efforts in keeping the city clean.

“Our staff at the Parks & Recreation Department work hard to keep our facilities clean and enjoyable for our many visitors,” said Ponek. “Frank Brown Park and Russell-Fields Pier are both popular destinations especially in the warm-weather months. Unfortunately we do see cigarette butts around our parks and on the beaches, so we are happy to have these receptacles for people to properly dispose of their cigarettes. This generous donation from Keep Panama City Beach Beautiful helps our beautification efforts.”

Keep PCB Beautiful is a local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. The group’s vision is to make Panama City Beach a clean and beautiful place in which to live, work, and visit and to support environmental and conservation initiatives.

Public Information Officer Debbie Ward can be reached at (850) 233-5100, Ext. 2261 or dward@pcbgov.com.

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