It started just by noticing.

Jim Alturo is a 70-year-old Jersey guy who walks a lot to stay in shape. During these long walks he noticed the litter. Lots of it. His retirement community in Cinnaminson is on and near a couple of really busy roads so he knew drivers were lazy and just using the road as their trash can.

But also their ashtray.

Dirty ashtray with cigarette on black background. Dark tone.

He began noticing much, if not most, of that roadside litter was cigarette butts. Then he decided since he’s walking right past it every day why not do something about it.

He began picking them up. It turned into a habit. Then it turned into sort of a hobby. As he did it, he started having drivers slow down and wave and smile in appreciation.

Then his quirky hobby turned into a cause.

According to, he decided to donate a penny to the American Lung Association for every butt he picked up. He set a remarkable goal of 15,000 butts. Which would be $150.

Over time he blew right past it. Jim collected 24,185 cigarette butts from the area around Route 130 and Branch Pike. Even though his donation would be higher than his goal he stuck to it and sent the money. Like he already wasn't a great guy for voluntarily cleaning the neighborhood?

Opened pack full of cigarettes closeup

That all started in 2022 and here it is 2024. What’s next?

Now Jim Alturo has set a new goal and is bringing others into his charitable world. His goal is to eventually clean up 35,000 cigarette butts to raise $35,000 and he’s asking for the support of anyone who will donate to the cause. He’s set up a webpage called Jim’s Cigarette Butt Challenge. He’s already raised over $2,000. Jim says he’ll keep people updated on his TikTok account.

I’m impressed a 70 year old even has a TikTok account let alone is walking nearly three hours a day on this mission of his.

The smiles on people’s faces, they’re glad I’m picking it up,” Alturo said. “But we should all care and want to live in a clean environment. We shouldn’t expect someone else to clean it up.

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