While cigarette use has dropped, the littering of tobacco products remains a problem. Smokers often drop cigarette butts onto the ground, place them in planters, and dispose of them in ditches or waterways. Keep America Beautiful (KAB) estimates that the overall littering rate for cigarette butts is 65% and that tobacco products comprise 38% of all U.S. roadway litter.
According to KAB, 63% of cigarette butt littering is attributable to individual motivations. Many smokers lack an awareness of the environmental impact brought on by tobacco litter. Littered cigarette butts are unsightly, costly to clean up, and harmful to waterways and wildlife. Most cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic which degrades slowly and can persist in the environment.
As cigarette butts gather around entrances to public buildings, stores, bars, and restaurants, near bus stops, in storm gutters, and along roads and sidewalks, they often invite other forms of littering. Before long, these areas might also be littered with coffee cups, wrappers, and other trash, all of which are left behind for business owners, parks maintenance crews, and street cleaners to pick up.
If you’re ready to make a difference, find out more about preventing cigarette butt litter. To help reduce all litter in your community, plan or take part in a litter cleanup program this spring.
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