The Only Butt Campaign


  • Share The Word Design Studio
  • Bendigo Bank Rye/Rosebud
  • Rye Community Group Alliance
  • Rye Lions Club
  • Woolworths


The Only Butt campaign shows innovation in the approach to littering of cigarette butts. Using an entendre for the word butt, humour is used to gain the attention of the community and visitors. The campaign had a significant impact on social change, starting with our local community. We inspire cheekiness and healthy loving environments for our future. Cigarette Littering worldwide is over 5 trillion annually, this is preventable, through education, conversations, fact sharing, and enforcement. We aim to raise awareness, and therefore raise the standard of expectation. Anyone can join in our on-line campaign or run their own.

Key Features


The campaign is based on the Victorian Litter Action Alliance, best practice and is a fantastic example of design meets science. Behind the education approach, making the campaign accessible using a website, people could adopt the campaign, either personally or as a town/group. Having the online campaign added that extra enthusiasm, as it was important to communicate the effects of littering on the environment, including the compound makeup of cigarette butts, which was not being communicated and is extremely effective in making smokers rethink their end behaviour. 90% of smokers surveyed, were not aware their butts were plastic and were willing to make a change, once they knew.


A great deal of groundwork was undertaken to understand and see that the research data matched the fieldwork data. The campaign pilot ran for a 5-month period and during that time, we were able to reduce littering from 6 in 10 Australians using the ground as an ashtray, to 2 in 10. The key featured was to use the research data to educate and inspire littering smokers to change their behaviour, by making them aware of what the effects of their littering was having on the local marine environment, and community, home to over 130 species, living under the pier.


The population of Rye increases by up to 1400% in Summer, so effectively communicating to visitors, plays an integral role in preserving our environment, as we welcome visitors, we also welcome their habits.
The campaign was able to reduce littering and people’s perceptions, areas went from being dumping grounds, to clean healthy environments. This inspired the community greatly, research shows that people feel less safe in littered environments and the effects of littering on brands and business have a knock-on effect, we were able to inspire change. Looking to produce hand-bins for beaches, to educate the community for personal responsibility.


Based on research, the origins of litter were targeted in the campaign showing local marine life, locations, and people. An innovative approach to ground decals was used to enforce that our community cared about the environment and what our expectations were in relation to litter. It was incredible to see how many people were passionate about reducing litter. As the education began to influence change, people were filled with praise of the results, as many people were of the belief, that it wouldn’t work. Local Business came on board and supported the education, and everyone was willing to share their butt jokes (I can assure you there are many)


The intended social impact is clear, it has enabled a community to raise the standards, engage local council, mitigate cleansing strategies and support, along with undertaking enforcement, which was part of the campaign delivery. The litter data is shared with Tangaroa Blue and the Mornington Peninsula Shire, A Rye report is available online for people to see what the results of the pilot campaign were. The work associated with the campaign is ongoing and encourages fun, and healthy body image, over shame. The campaign aligns with Change the Story framework and is about inspiring a community for positive change.

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Youtube / Vimeo

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