Hawaii already has a bottle bill.

Why not a cigarette butt bill?

Why should smokers feel like it’s OK to toss their butts into our parks, where kids are playing and families are picnicking?

I’ve got a proposal that could lead the way for the nation: If cigarette manufacturers want to sell cigarettes in Hawaii, the state should require them to include a separate part of their pack to store used butts. They could return the pack to any store that sells cigarettes and wants the processing fee. And the smokers would get back, say, 10 cents a butt, or $2 a pack.

A morning spent cleaning up Kapiolani Park this weekend with other residents of my apartment building revealed that the most pervasive problem was the hundreds of cigarette butts littering the grass, the side of the road, the patch between the sidewalk and the curb and the space around every picnic table and park bench.

Note to smokers: If you think the butts quickly dissolve, you’re wrong.

People walking in bare feet get to rub your garbage beneath their toes.

It ain’t pretty. It’s one thing to destroy your own health. It’s another to mess with the beauty of the islands.

I know my proposal might sound far-fetched. But who would have thought that people would return cans and bottles the way they do?

If we pursued a “butt bill,” any group could raise money by doing a cleanup. And the homeless might have another source of income. They could turn in butts that could be processed by a new invention, a “cigarette butt counter.” Then the butts could be burned at H-Power.

Of course, all this could be avoided if smokers would just stop dropping their butts.

But that would be way too much to ask.

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