Have you heard about the possible legislation to ban smoking at the beach? You can read more about it in this article. But for now, let’s leave politics out of the conversation and focus on the real issue at hand: cigarette butts are litter!
While most folks understand that tossing your empty bag of chips out the window is a no-no, many tend to look the other way when it comes to tossing cigarette butts. Why is that? Because they’re small? Because they think they’ll decompose quickly?
Cigarette butts don’t disappear and, even though they are small, they make up 32% of all litter1! About 95% of cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic which does not quickly degrade and can persist in the environment2. I also learned here on askHRgreen.org that one cigarette butt can contaminate 2 gallons of water (which, if you think about the damage they do to humans, is not at all hard to believe.) Plus, what if a sweet, innocent fishy or another marine animal saw a floating cigarette butt and thought it was a snack? Yuck – not good!
There are plenty of easy solutions to this clear problem. If you’re a smoker, carry an empty water bottle with you at all times. This way, you can toss cigarette butts in your bottle and throw it away later. There are also nifty cups you can get to put in your car’s cup holder that are specifically made for cigarette butts. Get a few and put one in each of your cars and even on your back porch so that there’s always one available. The City of Chesapeake has these available for citizens. If you make a commitment to not litter, you can get a free portable cup for your cigarette butts! Just give me a call at 382-6983!
Cigarette butts are litter – no butts about it! We can easily prevent them from ruining our waterways just by throwing them away in the garbage, not on the ground. Do you have any helpful tips for smokers who want to avoid littering? Share them with us in the comments!
1 “Litter in America” 2009 KAB Research