cigarrettes in a stack

Cigarette butts contribute to plastic pollution

Did you know that there’s sneaky plastic hiding inside cigarettes? Take a step outside, and it’s not long before you will see a littered cigarette end, commonly known as “butts”. Unfortunately, cigarette butts break down into tiny pieces of toxic leaching waste.

There are currently an estimated 1.3 billion smokers worldwide. Somewhere around 6.5 trillion cigarette butts litter our streets and countryside each year.

To discover more about the problems surrounding cigarette pollution, we spoke to Brad van Beuge the founder of Eco Mini-Bins, who is trying to work with smokers to get them to dispose of their butts safely.

cigarette butts and eco mini bin tins

Hello Brad, what have cigarettes got to do with plastic pollution?

Cigarette butts or filters contain cellulose acetate. This is a form of plastic that take anything between 7 and 18 years to decompose.

Plastic butts also have additives that make them toxic. They are a huge fire hazard. Animals/wildlife often eat them. Butts have a particular fragrant smell that tempts marine life, small mammals and sometimes children to taste. And due to the toxins, consumption can cause them harm or in the worst case, even death.

What types of problems does this cause?

Butts end up in drains, rivers, the sea etc. With so many people not disposing of their butts responsibly, cigarette butts can end up anywhere.

If someone chooses to smoke, how can they do so more responsibly?

Smoking responsibly is easy, but lack of awareness on the smoker’s part and a lack of waste receptacles are the two main reasons for severe amounts of cigarette butt littering. We need to educate smokers about the huge threat the butts are to the environment. Carrying an ashtray like the Eco Mini-Bin is one way. Also, recycling options could be a useful way of getting smokers to be more responsible.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Curious about other ways you can prevent plastic pollution? Sign a petition to campaign against plastic.  

Before you go, make sure to comment below and let me know if cigarette butt pollution is a problem where you are?

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Mia Hadrill
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