Tamper-proof cigarette bins may cut down on litter in downtown Everett

EVERETT — Unsightly messes on the sidewalk around cigarette bins might soon disappear as new tamper-proof bins are installed in downtown Everett.

The Downtown Everett Association has already removed about 20 free-standing aggregate-stone bins along Hewitt and Colby avenues.

Later this week and early next week, new bins mounted on poles will be installed. The bins are tamper-proof, unlike the old lidded bins.

That means that no one will be able to go digging through them, which has been a problem in the downtown core, said Steven Graham, the director of the Downtown Everett Association.

“We’ve seen people use them as a drug drop, we’ve found all sorts of contraband in there,” Graham said.

The association is tasked with administering the city’s Business Improvement Area, keeping it clean, promoting business and commerce in the area, and encouraging residential development in the downtown core.

The association bought 15 new bins made from recycled plastic from a New Jersey company called TerraCycle Inc., which sells a variety of products from recycled trash and materials.

Under a recycling program the company offers, TerraCycle will haul away the cigarette waste and “up-cycle” it into useful products. The association, in turn, gets a discount on the bins: $50 each rather than the list price of up to $300.

The association is funded by a self-levied tax on property owners in the city’s Business Improvement Area. That funding is providing the money for the new bins.

After enough waste is recycled, the association will earn credits that can be turned into donations to charity.

It may take years, perhaps, before enough waste is recycled to earn those credits.

“Right now we get nothing back. We have these not very attractive things taking up space,” Graham said, referring to the old concrete bins.

Marla Carter, a spokeswoman for the city’s public works department, said the city will put the old bins into storage until they’re needed elsewhere.

Other neighborhoods haven’t had the same problems with cigarette waste that the downtown core has had, she said. The city is continuing to use regular garbage cans in the downtown area, Graham said.

“Those we haven’t really had a problem with,” he said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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