Marinas Install Art-Wrapped Waste Receptacles to Keep Cigarettes Out of Waterways

Marina 3.jpg

Targeting the No. 1 littered item in the world.

With recent reports finding the Tennessee River to possess some of the highest levels of microplastics of rivers studied to date, 150 cigarette waste receptacles are currently being installed in five states within the river’s watershed. Plus, a recently received $5,000 Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) grant from Keep America Beautiful® (KAB) will fund an additional 200 receptacles to be installed later this summer.

In January 2019, CNN reported cigarette filters, which contain tightly compacted plastic fibers, to be the No. 1 plastic pollutant in the world. Furthermore, littered cigarettes that are inevitably washed into waterways have been known to contain enough toxins with the potential to kill aquatic life within two gallons of surrounding water.

In an effort to reduce this impact and change societal habits, 24 marinas in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Georgia will be installing metal waste collection receptacles in a project coordinated by Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTNRB). Serving more than the mere function of collecting discarded cigarettes, the receptacles also feature educational art wraps.

“Cigarettes are the most littered item in the world because we’ve accepted the act as part of our culture for generations,” said Kathleen Gibi, Executive Director for KTNRB. “Our goal with these art wraps is to inform users of the detriments of cigarette waste in the water, such as plastic and toxic pollutants that harm our aquatic life, and then gradually change those accepted norms through awareness.”

Staff at Caney Creek Marina show off their site’s new cigarette waste receptacles.

Staff at Caney Creek Marina show off their site’s new cigarette waste receptacles.

Working to support the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Tennessee Valley Clean Marina Program, KTNRB requested the high-quality receptacles from Keep America Beautiful, who donated and the durable infrastructure pieces.

TVA funding and a special litter grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation paid for the art wraps. Keep Tennessee Beautiful contributed funding to support delivery of the 90 cigarette waste receptacles to marinas in Tennessee.

Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful hired Dan Frye, a local graphic designer, to design the art wraps, while Allen Sign Company out of Knoxville, Tenn. printed them onto the receptacles.

TVA connected KTNRB with the 200+ marinas along the Tennessee River watershed, of which 24 marinas quickly responded and volunteered to install and maintain the receptacles on their properties. (See end of document for list.)

The new KAB grant awarded to KTNRB will fund another 200 cigarette waste receptacles with the same educational art wraps.

Lakeside Marina.jpg

Lakeside Marina on Cherokee Lake

Rather than disposing of the collected cigarette butts, participating marinas will ship them to be recycled. TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based company that recycles hard-to-recycle materials, partnered with KAB in a nationwide effort, recycling plastic cigarette filters at no additional expense. All 52 recipients in KAB’s 2019 CLPP will participate in this recycling initiative.

Marinas located within the Tennessee River watershed may submit requests for the free cigarette waste receptacles at

The first batch of cigarette waste receptacles have already been delivered to Tennessee marinas and will soon be shipped to marinas in the other four states. The participating marinas in the first round include:

Boone Lake Marina | Boone Lake
Jay's Boat Dock | Boone Lake
Greenlee Campground & Marina | Cherokee Lake
Lakeside Marina | Cherokee Lake
B and B Marina | Chickamauga Lake
Chickamauga Marina | Chickamauga Lake
Gold Point Yacht Harbor | Chickamauga Lake
Pine Harbor Marina | Chickamauga Lake
Volunteer Landing Marina | Fort Loudon Lake
Birdsong Resort | Kentucky Lake
Paris Landing State Park Marina | Kentucky Lake
Perryville Marina | Kentucky Lake
Riverstone Marina | Kentucky Lake
Erwin Marine Riverfront | Nickajack Lake
Ocoee Inn and Marina | Parksville Lake
Watauga Lakeshore Resort and Marina | Watauga Lake
Caney Creek Marina | Watts Bar Lake

Jackson County Park Marina | Guntersville Lake
Sunrise Marina | Guntersville Lake
Florence Harbor Marina | Pickwick Lake

Big Bear Resort | Kentucky Lake
Lakeview Cottages and Marina | Kentucky Lake

Aqua Yacht Harbor | Pickwick Lake

Lake Blue Ridge Marina | Blue Ridge Lake

Click HERE to listen to a National Recreation and Parks Association podcast with KTNRB’s Executive Director, Kathleen Gibi, and Keep Tennessee Beautiful’s Executive Director, Missy Marshall, as well as their Affiliate Services and Training Coordinator, Edmond McDavis III, speaking about the consequences of cigarette litter and solutions coming to the Tennessee River watershed.