MACON, Ga. — Seeing cigarette butts on public streets is like seeing old gum, but Prentice Rutledge thinks it's gotten out of hand.
"I mean, you can look at the cracks just along the sidewalk here, and I can't even count on my hand how many cigarette butts you can see," Rutledge said.
His friend Tommy Superior is from New York where he says keeping the streets clean is a challenge with all of those people.
"You really got to get ahead of the problem instead of being on the back end, so, maybe, you know, we have a nice, medium populace here where we can be proactive instead of counteractive," Superior said.
That's why Jean Bragg from the Business Improvement District partnered with NewTown Macon to pilot a cigarette recycling bin at the beginning of the year.
"We experimented by buying just a small one and putting it on the building at Piedmont, the old Silver's building, and we found that a lot of people used it," Bragg said.
They went on to install 20 more around downtown Macon by the end of July.
"The property owners in downtown Macon pay an additional 5 mills a year to support the activities of the Business Improvement District and this is their money at work," Bragg said.
Bragg says they'll send the butts to a company that buys them by the pound.
"They can recycle these to make frisbees and plastic furniture and other items," Bragg said.
Rutledge is happy business leaders are encouraging people to keep Macon clean.
"As you're walking by and you have the cigarette in your hand, you just happen to catch it out of the corner of your eye, you're like, 'Hey, I might want to keep this street clean, you know? It's my hometown. I want to have this street beautiful. Maybe other people want to have that beautiful street,' you know?" Rutledge said.
Bragg says the larger bins cost $200 and the smaller ones cost $100 each.
They're working to add 20 more bins in downtown Macon.