Are you aware that discarded cigarette butts are the most collected item in worldwide beach cleanups annually? The Keep America Beautiful Program surveyed Americans and found that 77% of people didn’t think cigarette butts were litter. In fact, cigarette butts are a form of non-biodegradable litter that pollute streets, rivers, and oceans worldwide.
Up in smoke, litter is no joke.
With 1 billion cigarette smokers worldwide, the environmental impact of cigarette butts is substantial. It is estimated that trillions of toxic cigarette butts have been discarded into the environment – and with over 5 trillion cigarettes produced annually – it’s bound to get worse. Shifting our mindset on the proper disposal of cigarette butts is necessary for the health of our environment.
Facts on Cigarettes:
- Approximately 10 million cigarettes are purchased every minute worldwide.
- 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered annually.
- More than one-third of all litter collected is cigarette butts.
- Cities spend between 3 and 16 million dollars annually on cigarette cleanup.
- Cigarette butts are toxic waste – containing plastics, tar, and arsenic.
- Cigarettes do not break down naturally. Depending on conditions – cigarettes can take up to 8 years to break down.
How can I make an impact:
Action 1: Global Goodness
- Stop smoking. Let family members and friends know the risks of smoking on their health – and the health of the environment.
- If you see cigarette litter on the ground, do your part by picking it up.
Action 2: Planet Protector
- All of Action 1
- Lobby your local businesses to invest in cigarette waste receptacles. Studies showed for every cigarette receptacle added – cigarette litter dropped by 9 %.
- Host a cigarette butt cleanup. Gather your community to clean up cigarette waste.
Action 3: Earth Angel
- All of Action 1 & 2
- Support causes that end tobacco use. The more awareness we spread about tobacco use, the more we will see a reduction in smoking – thus reducing the amount of cigarette waste.
- Lobby the tobacco industry to improve their materials. Ask them to produce more biodegradable, environmentally friendly filters.