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From the people who brought you seaWaldo, HappyButts cans pop up in Pike/Pine

The creatives at Blur Seattle — who in January had you on the hunt for Waldo and friends around Capitol Hill — have started a new project designed to give Pike/Pine smokers a place to toss their butts without trashing the place:

A few of us just launched a small project on the hill that aims to promote the proper disposal of cigarette butts by providing convenient, easy to spot receptacles.  If you’ve been walking around Pike/Pine between 11th and Boylston, you may have noticed birght yellow cans that we hope people will take a liking to and develop a habit of tossing their butts. 

The cans are definitely easy to spot and, as you’ll see in the video, hard to wander off with thanks to the attached heavy blocks. All the cans we found were mostly empty. Some had actually been used for cigarette butts though we also found an equal measure of discarded smoking materials on the ground around the cans. The not-overflowing cans are thanks to the Blur Seattle effort also — the guys behind the project empty the receptacles periodically. If you’d like to help keep the Pike/Pine cans empty — or spread HappyButts (yes, we typed that!) across the city, drop a line to

Oh, and don’t smoke. Check out for more.

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16 thoughts on “From the people who brought you seaWaldo, HappyButts cans pop up in Pike/Pine

  1. Here’s to hoping people actually use them. They won’t, of course but, eh, A for effort? I cannot tell you how often I see people little as they walk by, or are standing in front of, a trash or recycling bin. Basically, people suck. :(
    I’m sad to say that I moved here and found a bunch of faux environmentalists who vote for things they never obey. How often have one of you stood immediately outside of the entrance to a restaurant, puffing away, while you voted for the very thing you’re being an @ss about? How many of you ACTUALLY pay attention to what you put in the recycling versus the trash? How many of you ACTUALLY break down your boxes. My eyes have shown me that it’s hardly any. Well, there’s my little rant.

  2. Great work Blur team! I think this is a simple yet considerate way to deal with the butt problem on Capitol Hill. I remember stepping out of the sweatbox yoga studio to a sidewalk filled with butts, broken glass, and trash and just wanting to hurl from the awful sight and smell of it all. Many of us have been a smoker at one point or another so we understand the right to smoke – but pack it out people!!

  3. I think the issue of not paying attention is probably the largest (drunk or sober). Our hope is that we can remind people that they can dispose of their trash properly while giving them a convenient place to do it.

    Putting cans out on the street does give a place to toss some butts, but a primary focus is getting people to think about regular disposal. Not everyone will use them, but if someone knows there is a can at the end of the block (or right next to the bar), maybe they will hold off a couple steps before flickin’ the filter :-).

  4. There are already a lot of those black ashtray things that have the long, skinny top where you put your smoke out.

    An unintended side effect of this may be that smokers feel totally justified in their sidewalk smoking spot if there is an ash tray there, but they might not realize their smoke is going straight into someone’s apartment above them, or the coffee shop right next to them. I have noticed the city-placed ashtrays are in locations that account for this.

    I can’t fault a smoker for this logic either. If there is an ashtray there, that’s a pretty clear indication it’s okay to smoke there. But maybe that’s not what is intended?

    And did they account for the stupid 25 yard rules? When I used to smoke (3 years without a drag, high-five) some business owners took this very seriously. Some security guards too. Never got a ticket but I am admittedly kind of an asshole so if a cop was within spitting distance, I probably would have gotten one.

    All experiences are from the same area they did the Waldos in; I liked the Waldos a lot more.

    How about some trash cans instead? I can never find one when I need one in the hill.

  5. I remember when the city had ash trays next to garbage cans on almost every block. Then they cut back to every other block. Then they got rid of the ash trays thinking people would never litter.
    Here we are 20 years later. Cigarette butts everywhere, and some group of young people thinks they just invented some new thing by painting an old coffee can.
    Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice idea….

  6. It is super unfortunate that the city no longer has ash trays everywhere. Did people use them when they were available? We’d love to find out more so we can work on creating a sustainable way to make things just a little cleaner.



  7. Yes, they were used back then. You still had one or two people that would toss one in the street, but the city changed things to save money. There was a street crew that cleaned sidewalks all day of gum and litter. Now it’s the business owner that has to clean their own section of side walk or risk a fine. I don’t know where you could even get the old trash cans and matching ash trays that stood alongside. I’ve been to a couple of cities back East that still have street crews and ash trays. It’s really one of the first things you notice. No trash in the gutter and not a butt or gum on the sidewalk.

  8. Why all the negativity in response to this project? Blur simply saw a problem and came up with a creative response.

    Who cares if “…there used to be ashtrays…” or “…people suck and they’ll litter anyway…” or “…bad, smoker, bad!…”

    Thanks, Blur, for using your time, energy and creativity to improve our neighborhood!

  9. I’ve put cans in front of my business multiple times only to have them stolen by somebody, who know’s why… Maybe if we just have a huge number of them to saturate the hill it will help a lot.

  10. Some areas of Capitol Hill (such as Pike-Pine) are inundated with litter, and smokers are among the worst offenders….they seem to think that their cigarette butts (and used packages) are “not litter” so they routinely toss them on the pavement. Other common objects littered are plastic bottles and beer cans.

    The “butt cans” are well-intentioned but will not make a significant difference…..kind of like the “community bulletin boards” (such as at Broadway and Harrison), which are for posters, yet most posters are put up on utility poles (and never removed) or on structures which are disallowed by the postering regulations.

    With both of these issues, it is a matter of disrespecting the environment our neighborhood.

  11. It’s not that they aren’t paying attention. Smokers know EXACTLY where their discarded butts end up, sober or not. They CHOOSE to throw them on the ground because 1) it is most convenient to them and 2) they know there are no consequences. They’ll continue throwing butts on the ground because they simply do not care what happens when the cigarette is gone and leaves their hand.

  12. See my answer above. It’s not that they don’t notice. They simply do not care as long as they get their fix.