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DPW, WBID partner to install dog waste stations, 'Buttlers' in Downtown Worcester

For Immediate Release: 7/23/2021 9:43 am

The Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), partnering with the City of Worcester's Department of Public Works & Parks, has launched the next phase of its placemaking and beautification action plan with the installation of dog waste stations and cigarette disposal receptacles throughout the District. This new BID initiative seeks to clean the District’s streets and sidewalks while bringing attention to important quality of life issues for those living, working, and visiting Downtown Worcester.

As part of the BID’s quality of life agenda, the BID’s Ambassador team has been working diligently to clean the District’s sidewalks on a daily basis. Ambassadors have been collecting data to document the types of waste found during cleaning operations, the areas most affected, and how often these areas need to be addressed. The data showed that cigarette butts and dog waste were at the top of the list of stressors within the Downtown footprint.

In an effort to address these issues, based on the data seven dog waste containers and 24 cigarette disposal receptacles, also known as “Buttlers,” are currently being installed in designated areas throughout the District. The DPW&P is assisting with installation and expects to have all receptacles in place by the end of July.

“It is often these small but important elements that are key to creating a safe and clean Downtown neighborhood for all to enjoy,” said Evelyn Darling, Executive Director of the Downtown Worcester BID. “It is our hope that the installation of these receptacles will provide a convenience to those who live, work, and visit here while encouraging people to partake in a simple, neighborly act that will help all of us maintain the cleanliness of our streets and make great strides in improving the quality of life for all.”

Downtown Worcester has seen a significant increase in new housing units within the last 10 years with the potential of an additional 1,800 units in the early stages of development throughout the urban core. With the increase in housing options, the number of pets (primarily dogs) has increased Downtown. This increased pet ownership prompted the City to open its third dog park on Green Street in 2018, in addition to other small, privately-operated parks for area properties.

Cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item throughout the country, according to Keep America Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. The BID’s installation of the cigarette disposal units seeks to discourage littering and dispose of the butts in a safe receptacle. The refuse collected in the “Buttlers” serves the community in two facets—providing a convenient disposal receptacle and also diverting the litter from landfills through recycling. This unique recycling process utilizes the bi-product of discarded cigarette butts and combines it with other products to make new plastic materials such as ashtrays, shipping pallets, or plastic lumber.

“The Department of Public Works and Parks is happy to assist in these and other efforts that contribute to a cleaner Worcester,”DPW&P Commissioner Jay Fink said. “The City alone cannot handle the burden of keeping the City clean. Organizations such as the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District, efforts during Earth Day, the contribution of the Green Corps, and the support of residents and businesses cleaning and beautifying in front of their properties, all play a part in improving the overall appearance of the City.”

The BID expects to continue its placemaking and beautification efforts, working closely with its summer marketing intern from Fitchburg State University, Mary Leufstedt, who has designed the decals for the cigarette disposal units.

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