An anti-litter campaign to reduce the amount of cigarette litter in the city centre has been hailed a success.

The week-long pilot scheme which took place in October 2010 found that cigarette litter decreased by 70 per cent during that week and two weeks after the project.

City centre environmental wardens were out in force encouraging shoppers on Rose Street to dispose of their cigarette butts in a clean way by handing out free mini bins.

Ten tonnes of litter is dropped in the city centre every week and smokers’ litter is one of the top gripes of city residents and businesses.

Overall, it costs £2.4m a year to clean up litter in the city centre alone.

Local businesses helped the scheme by displaying posters and encouraging customers to use bins rather than throwing away cigarettes as they go into shops and pubs.

The pilot project was the first in a series of anti-litter initiatives, to make Edinburgh a clean and beautiful place to live and work in.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environmental Leader, said: “The project went extremely well and really captured the public’s imagination. There was a reduction in the number of complaints and an increase in the number of people aware of the cost of cleaning up cigarettes from city streets.

“The vast majority of Edinburgh residents and visitors deserve a big thank you for using litter bins, keeping vigilant and letting us know about graffiti and other litter issues. But we are determined to continue to take the strongest possible action against the irresponsible minority who continue to litter our beautiful city.”