Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS The city of New Orleans and the Downtown Development District is starting a new program to clean up and recycle something that has become a real problem, cigarette butts.

It's all part of a new initiative to keep New Orleans clean and create green jobs, and it's the first initiative of its kind in the United States.

The city is hoping smokers will take notice and take advantage of newly placed recycling bins, in an effort to cut down on the cigarette butt waste here in the city.

Right now about 20% of the state uses tobacco products, which leads to millions of pounds of cigarette litter around the city and the state.

The Downtown Development District has teamed up with recycling giant, Terracycle, to develop a program that would steer smokers away from littering on sidewalks downtown.

More than 50 bins will be placed around the city to kick off this pilot program, and with every pound collected Terracycle will donate $4 to the DDD for its efforts.

This is the first program of its kind in a major metro area and leaders say it was long overdue.

'It is part of our Downtown Proud campaign. We remind stakeholders that they can help us at the DDD, they can help themselves and they can help the citizens make this one of the cleanest downtowns in America,' explains Kurt Weigle, CEO of the Downtown Development District.

The cigarette butts collected will be broken down into industrial products and the program is free to the city.

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