An Osoyoos youngster has developed a simple but effective way for would-be smokers to dispose of cigarette butts while travelling BC highways.
And created an inspiring message in the process.
“It’s called a Butt Bottle,” explained eight-year-old Talon Lowton this afternoon during a stop at the RCMP’s Osoyoos detachment.
“They’re for in your car. If you smoke, when you’re done with (the cigarette), you open the cap and you put (it) in.
“It’s just so you don’t throw the butt out the window and start forest fires like there is right now.”
The Butt Bottle is a Grade 3 student’s simple answer to a complex problem. A life hack right?
But it’s also an idea with value that Talon probably can’t contemplate. It’s an inspired reminder as thousands of hectares of BC forest burns.
“If they burn up our town, people won’t have places to live and stay,” Talon says of those who would toss cigarettes out car windows.
He knows of what he speaks. His grandparents were evacuated two summers ago when fire raced through the Rock Creek community.
Talon has placed a label on each bottle he’s created: Butt Bottle, the label reads. He and his grandma Elaine Taylor have handed out about two dozen.
“I just thought about smoking and how people throw them out the window and then before they know it there’s a fire and when it’s windy it gets even worse.”
Talon isn’t looking for a monopoly here; anyone is welcome to make their own Butt Bottle.
“That would be OK,” he says. “But they wouldn’t have a label. I made all the labels. We’re still looking for more bottles to put them on.”
Some of the Butt Bottles Talon has created are now with Osoyoos RCMP.
“He dropped a few off at our detachment so what we’ll do is put a couple in the cars,” said Sgt. Jason Bayda, the detachment’s commander. “If we see someone who’s smoking in their car — whether they throw (the butt) out of not — we may do a friendly pullover.”
“Most people talk to their friends, and friends talk to friends,” he explained. “And we can spread the word about fire safety and that’s the most important thing.”
The messaging, he says, is the story of a young fellow who “has made these bottles for people to put their cigarette butts out.”
“You’ve got a kid trying to do the right thing and it’s great,” said Sgt. Bayda.
How can you not want to do the right thing when you hear that?
Making your own Butt Bottle
We thought it made sense to teach people how to create their own Butt Bottles, just in case they can’t get one of Talon’s.
- Find an empty 500- or 750-ml plastic bottle.
- Fill the bottle about three-quarters full with water.
- Put a cap on the bottle.
- Create a Butt Bottle label and affix it to the bottle.
- Take the bottle with you in your vehicle.
- If you smoke, when you’re finished with your cigarette, unscrew the bottle cap and drop the butt into the water.
- Replace the bottle cap.
The Butt Bottle, by the way, isn’t just for vehicles. Take it with you on your ATV or stuff it in your backpack.
If you’re not a smoker, make a Butt Bottle and politely offer it to a family member or friend who does smoke. Tell them Talon sent you.
When you use it, think about Talon and the rest of British Columbia’s youngsters who want to protect BC’s beautiful forests.
We want to see your Butt Bottle. Post a photo to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #BCButtBottle.