This is a great example of Big-Government, poorly-conceived, half-baked ideas that do not work.

Remember Cash for Clunkers?

Via WSJ.

More than 300 million people smoke in China, translating into 2.5 trillion cigarettes sold last year. Chinese smokers aren’t known for their enthusiasm for ashtrays. That means the country’s butt litter is overwhelming, and often in hard-to-reach places, like sidewalk crevices, park lawns and street gutters.

Shengzhou, a city of 730,000 south of Shanghai, took a stand….

In Shengzhou’s effort, the incentive was a big draw. With each tissue pack costing about 37 cents, residents said that one single butt was worth more than a recycled plastic bottle, which gets only about half a penny.
The prestigious tissue brand— Bo Si Mao, or Persian Cat—also contributed to the program’s popularity, said Tang Ganjie, who runs a beer and cigarettes shop. “They’re good quality,” he said. “You can use them in the bathroom, you can use them for anything.”

The crush of participants quickly undermined the city’s campaign. Rather than only helping clean the streets, organizers suspected people were bringing butts from their own homes, from bars and from the city’s many Mahjong game centers.

Word of the program also spread further afield. Butts began arriving from Xinchang County, a half-hour drive away, organizers said. Some residents said they heard of people mailing boxes of butts from as far as Hangzhou, a city two hours away. Mr. Tang said his father brought in 1,000 butts from alongside a highway outside town.

Organizers halted the campaign two weeks before its Oct. 31 end date….

There was no way for us to confirm if people were from Shengzhou,” said Zhong Zhanghua, one of the campaign’s organizers. “And we couldn’t confirm whether they really picked their butts off the ground.”

Shengzhou officials wrapped up the last butt-counting in the wee hours of Oct. 19 after ending the program at midnight. With nearly five million butts delivered, the city said it had spent about $30,000 in tissues. A record payout went to a man who delivered 10,300 butts at once….

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