'No Butts' Measure Inspired by Ingenious Woodbridge Siblings

by Joseph Straw
Washington Bureau
Reprinted with permission from the New Haven Register.

Amy, David and Allie Steinmetz<br>Photo courtesy of the Steinmetz family.
Amy, David and Allie Steinmetz
Photo courtesy of the Steinmetz family.

Three Woodbridge siblings' bid to stop smokers from using the world as their ashtray has been heard on Capitol Hill. "No Butts About It," is the name of the campaign founded by teens Amy, Allie and David Steinmetz.

On Monday, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., introduced legislation that would require cigarette packs to bear a message stating, "Please dispose of all cigarette waste properly. Do not litter." The three teens endorsed Lieberman's bill.

We're all really excited about it because it's something we've been working toward for a long time," said Amy, 18, twin of Allie, and big sister to David, 14. The siblings met with Lieberman in August 2005 after they were honored as "Joe's Heroes" for their antipollution efforts. The siblings worked with Lieberman's staff on the legislation and, at the urging of the senator's office, started an electronic petition on their Web site,, to demonstrate support for their labeling initiative.

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

"Thanks to the Steinmetz family, I have become aware of the disturbing and negative impact that discarded cigarette butts have on our ecosystems," Lieberman said. "This legislation is necessary for the safety of us, our environment and future generations. I appreciate the forethought and initiative of the Steinmetz family regarding this issue," Lieberman said.

In 2004, the trio successfully lobbied state Sen. Joseph J. Crisco Jr., D-Woodbridge, to draft legislation that would have required manufacturers to include a disposable ashtray in every pack of cigarettes sold in the state.

In 1999, when they lived in Florida, the teens' parents gave them a section of Boca Raton beach through the state's "Adopt-a-Shore" cleanup program. The kids were amazed to see that people who properly disposed of traditional trash flicked their cigarette butts wherever they pleased. The children hung posters encouraging safe, clean disposal of cigarette butts and provided disposable ashtrays at beach gate houses.

No Butts About It Bumper Sticker<br>Photo courtesy of
No Butts About It Bumper Sticker
Photo courtesy of

Amy and Allie are seniors at Amity Regional High School, and David is an eighth-grader at Amity Junior High School. Amy is headed to Brown University this summer, Allie to Yale University.

Each year in the United States, 176 million cigarette butts are improperly discarded and 4.5 trillion worldwide. Each can take from two to 25 years to decompose, according to No Butts About It.

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Last edited 1/5/2017 9:58:54 PM

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Related Links

The No Butts About It Litter Campaign - The official Web site of the Steinmetz siblings' campaign to rid the earth of cigarette butt litter.
Cigarette Butts as Litter -- Toxic as Well as Ugly - Read an article by Kathleen Register, the founder and executive director of Clean Virginia Waterways, describing the toxic effects of "the most common type of litter on earth."
Keep America Beautiful, Inc. - The nation's largest community improvement network recognized Amy, Allie and David Steinmetz for their "No Butts About It" Litter Campaign.