Cigarette Butt Litter Reduction Guide for Businesses

Join the growing number of Fremont businesses providing cigarette butt bins to their employees and customers.

A frog being snuffed out by a cigarette butt.

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Cigarette butts are litter that harm our waterways. Littering is against the law in Fremont. Businesses are responsible for keeping the area around their business free from all litter and will be inspected randomly. Fines can occur. (City of Fremont Municipal Code 18.210.100 )


1. Order, the place cigarette butt containers

Black Plastic Cigarette Butt Container

  1. Look around your business for cigarette butt litter and count the number of locations where there is cigarette butt litter but no butt container. For every additional cigarette butt container, the littering rate decreases by 9%.
  2. Select and order cigarette butt bins. Consult the Cigarette Butt Bin/Container Options Guide and consider costs, material quality (e.g. for weather, vandalism), maintenance, security, and appearance.
  3. Place cigarette butt bins near “transition points” where smokers must stop smoking before going inside. Containers must be 25 feet or more from an entrance or exit of any public building, or have a sign posted within a foot of the container saying “Smoking Prohibited by Law – Extinguish Here.”
  4. Establish a routine for cleaning cigarette butt bins and areas that accumulate trash and cigarette butts. A clean area deters others from littering.


2. Put up signage at your business

Sign showing person putting their cigarette butt in a binPut up simple signs, decals or stickers where people smoke and on or next to cigarette butt bins that remind people to use the nearest container and that littering is against the law. The City of Fremont can provide you with free signs, decals, and stickers in English, Chinese, Spanish or Vietnamese.  

Call Environmental Services at (510) 494-4570 or request supplies by email.



3. Educate and remind employees and the public

A pledge for employees to put their cigarette butts in the bin

  1. Develop or implement a Smoking Policy Be clear about your business rules regarding smoking in the workplace, including expectations and consequences.
  2. Review employee communications. Add reminders about smoking, litter laws and policies into regular training and any other communications (e.g. newsletters), as well as warnings for staff who are not following the rules. Emphasize, this is not an anti-smoking effort but an anti-litter campaign.
  3. Ask employees for a verbal or signed pledge to use the provided container. Consider also giving away portable pocket ashtrays to employees who smoke.
  4. Educate employees and the public using visual reminders like table tent cards in break rooms, outside tables, or a decal in your window.


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