Cigarette Waste Receptacles Buyers' Guide

Cigarette Waste Receptacles

Cigarette waste surrounding your building is an eyesore that can deter potential customers and even pose an environmental threat.1 Unfortunately, discarded tobacco products, cigarette filters in particular, make up the majority of litter across the country.2 To prevent that issue, outfit guest entrances, employee break areas, and other gathering places with cigarette receptacles that will encourage smokers to deposit their cigarette butts responsibly. In fact, anti-litter organization Keep America Beautiful found every additional ash receptacle cuts cigarette litter by 9 percent.3 A well-placed receptacle can even prevent visits from the fire department to put out grass and mulch fires.4

You have several options when it comes to choosing cigarette butt receptacles for your facilities. We'll cover a few of the common ones here.

Types of Cigarette Receptacles

Open-top Cigarette Urns

Open-top cigarette urns are the simplest and most affordable receptacles for collecting cigarette waste. These containers, available both as stand-alone units and in designs that mount on a trash can, are filled with sand and allow smokers to extinguish their cigarettes easily. Because they don't hold as many cigarette butts as the alternatives, open-top urns must be emptied more frequently. A member of staff should be sure to empty cigarette waste at least once a day or more often for heavily-trafficked areas.

Manufacturers that provide open-top cigarette urns often design them to match their decorative trash cans. Buying a pair of those items helps keep your furnishings coordinated for a neat appearance. Keep in mind that open urns are only suitable for areas that are protected from wind and rain.

Smokers' Poles

Smokers' poles are sleek and non-intrusive cigarette receptacles that can be strategically placed wherever cigarette smokers congregate. This type of outdoor ashtray comprises a simple metal or plastic pole attached to a base that collects spent cigarettes. These receptacles vary in capacity depending on their size, but larger smokers' poles are suitable for areas that see a high volume of smokers.

Smokers' poles don't need to be emptied as often as most of the alternatives. This type of receptacle also provides an additional safety benefit because it is designed to extinguish deposited cigarettes to minimize the risk of fire.

Trash Cans with Built-in Cigarette Urns

Trash cans with built-in cigarette urns work double duty by collecting cigarette butts and general waste.

While many trash cans come with built-in ashtrays, others can be modified with components to add that functionality later. Many of Rubbermaid's decorative containers include this feature. That means you can simply swap out a container's top if you want to add a cigarette receptacle without having to replace the entire unit.

Wall-mounted Cigarette Receptacles

Wall-mounted cigarette receptacles are installed on vertical surfaces to provide a more permanent solution for collecting cigarette waste. Although their capacities aren't as high as some other solutions, wall-mounted receptacles are impossible to turn over.

Wall-mounted cigarette receptacles come in two basic formats. The first resembles a miniature smokers' pole with its cylindrical shape providing a sleek, decorative solution in lower-traffic areas. The second type of wall-mounted receptacle takes the form of a box, which is more utilitarian in design but has a capacity for more cigarette butts.

Things to Consider When You're Choosing a Cigarette Receptacle

Consider the intended location of your new receptacle. If you're shopping for an outdoor ashtray that will be exposed to wind and rain, you'll want to make sure you choose one that's protected from the elements. Smokers' poles make good solutions for outdoor installations. If the ashtray will be used indoors or in a location that's protected by an awning or a canopy, then you can safely choose a cigarette butt receptacle that isn't concealed from the weather.

Consider how much traffic the cigarette receptacle will see. If you're choosing a cigarette receptacle for a busy area, you'll want to choose an ashtray with a capacity large enough to handle all the waste users will deposit there. Entrances and employee break areas are examples of high-traffic areas. Keep in mind that larger receptacles can go for longer between cleanings, taking a load off of your janitorial crew.

  1. Cigarette Butts and the Case for an Environmental Policy on Hazardous Cigarette waste
  2. Keep America Beautiful: Cigarette Litter Problems and Facts
  3. Keep America Beautiful: Cigarette Litter Fact Sheet
  4. Fire and Rescue NSW: Can Cigarette Butts Start Bushfires?