How to choose an outdoor ashtray

Installing an outdoor ashtray or cigarette bin in a smoking area is a cost effective way to stamp out cigarette butt litter, and protect the environment.

If you thought plastic in our oceans was the greatest environmental problem, take a look at the cigarette butt. Usually made of cellulose acetate, a type pf bioplastic, there are an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts thrown on the ground every year which makes them the most common form of plastic pollution on the planet.

As the butts collect in flowerbeds, street corners and drains, they are unpleasant to look at and filters take decades to breakdown.

Why do smokers throw cigarette butt litter on the ground?

The most common excuse for cigarette litter is that there is not an outdoor ashtray or cigarette bin nearby.

If you’d like to break the cigarette little cycle, invest in a good quality cigarette bin and put it where smokers are likely to collect or better yet, create a designated smoking zone.

What is the difference between a free-standing and a wall-mounted cigarette bin?

The main difference between a free-standing and a wall-mounted cigarette bin is the way the bin is positioned in a smoking area.

A wall-mounted cigarette bin or outdoor ashtray is fastened by screws to the exterior wall of a building.

A free-standing cigarette bin rests on the floor for a flexible litter solution, or for added security, is bolted to the ground.

Should I choose a wall-mounted or free standing ashtray?

For smaller outdoor smoking areas, wall-mounted cigarette bins are a good option as they sit flush with the wall at shoulder height. New, contemporary styles, like the Compact Ash Curve Cigarette Bin has a slimmer profile ensuring it sits cleanly against the wall. Note the slated stub plate which makes this bin easier to wipe clean, thus improving the overall look.

For larger outdoor spaces, free-standing cigarette bins give you the flexibility to move bins according to the level of footfall.

Alternatively, if there are set entrance and exit pathways within your outdoor space, base-mount them into a set position.

What features should I look for in an outdoor ashtray?

Easy disposal

A cigarette bin with clear slots to extinguish and dispose of cigarette butts is far more successful in reducing cigarette litter than a difficult to use design. The slots should be easy to see and to reach but small enough to prevent other types of rubbish being stuffed into them causing a potential fire hazard. Look out for designs with weather-proof hoods that keep cigarette waste dry in wet weather as this makes the bins easier to empty.

Safe Design:

Cigarette butts may be thrown in the bin before fully extinguished, which can lead to potential fire hazards in and around smoking areas. Quality cigarette bins have been engineered to significantly reduce this threat.

Fire has three contributing factors: heat, fuel and oxygen. Take one of these away and there will be no fire. Look for stub plates that have been designed to restrict oxygen within the bin, therefore preventing fire. Adding sand in outdoor ashtrays can also prevent fire.

As an added precaution, make sure rubbish is kept away from cigarette waste. Provide a rubbish bin nearby as a handy alternative, or purchase a combined litter and cigarette bin.

Internal linings

Regular emptying and keeping your cigarette bin free of litter ensures your smoking area is cleaner and safer. Choose a cigarette bin that has is light to tip out into a bin or recycling box. Internal liners are highly recommended and these make the task of emptying the cigarette bin a much quicker, more pleasant and ultimately a much safer experience.

It is also helpful if you are part of a cigarette waste recycling programme.

Flexible solutions

If you’re looking for a little solution that is flexible enough to respond to changes in footfall, say you run events or large hospitality venues for example, then free standing cigarette bins your best option. Look out for cigarette bins that can be weighted in to place with sand - a quick, economical solution.


Free-standing and wall-mounted bins can easily be fitted in place. include fixings will all our bins, as well as keys to prevent tampering.

Visibility and Convenience

The cleanest smoking areas combine clear signage with well-positioned, highly visible cigarette bins. Rust-resistant stainless steel bins are durable and their shine makes them easy to spot even on the darkest of days. Colour can also be a way of encouraging smokers to dispose of their cigarette litter. Bright colours like red, and green work well.


The UK is beautiful but the weather can be challenging at times. If you live in an area that is particularly prone to wind and rain, look out for heavy-duty tapered cigarette bins which withstand the harshest gales and storms, and also stop the litter instead from becoming a sludgy mess.

Benefits of a Wall Mounted Ashtray v a Free Standing Cigarette Bin

Wall Mounted

Free Standing


Secured to exterior of a building

On the floor, bolted (optional for extra security)


Small, Medium and Large capacity available

Small, Medium and Large capacity available




Easy to Clean

Yes. Look for the internal bin liner design for easy cleaning

Yes. Look for the internal bin liner design for easy cleaning


Yes, look for models with a slanted grill plate

Yes, look for weather-hoods

Combined with Litter Bin

Not available

Take a look at the
Ash and Litter Bin range.



Take a look at our
Advertising Bins range.


Take a look at our
Advertising Bins range.

Next steps?

Now that you have an idea of the type of cigarette bin you need, browse our cigarette bin and outdoor ashtray range.

For ease, we’ve divided them into free standing, wall mounted, ash and litter, as well as advertising cigarette bins.

Make sure you check out our Special Deals and don’t forget multi-buy deals are available on our entire range. You could save up to 20%.

If you’ve any questions, please email us or give us a call on 01360 440066.