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70-year-old veteran starts 'Cigarette Butt Challenge' to clean streets

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Posted at 10:31 PM, Feb 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-01 22:31:58-05

CINNAMINSON, New Jersey (WPVI) — 70-year-old Air Force veteran Jim Alturo started his own 'Cigarette Butt Challenge' to keep the streets clean in his South Jersey community.

It started as a modest retirement hobby: taking a walk and picking up trash along the way.

"The most common type of trash I found is cigarette butts," he said. "It's like they're coming from heaven. They drop out of the sky."

Jim started the year of 2023 with a goal to collect 15,000 cigarette butts. He wound up with 24,185. He donated one penny to the American Lung Association for each cigarette butt he collected.

His good deeds did not go unnoticed. After his story was published online, the American Lung Association reached out to collaborate and create another fundraiser. 'Jim's Cigarette Butt Challenge' has already raised more than $600.

His goal for 2024 is to collect 35,000 cigarette butts and inspire others to clean up their neighborhoods.

"Instead of throwing your trash or cigarette butts on the ground, why not dispose of it? Make it easier," he said. "Hey, you may put me out of business, but that's okay. It'd be worthwhile."