GOOD TO KNOW
According to research done by Keep America Beautiful, many of the same people who would never litter a can or piece of paper simply don’t think twice about tossing cigarette butts on the ground. That’s why tobacco litter makes up:
- 38% of roadway litter
- 32% of litter in storm drains
- 32% of litter in outdoor recreation areas
Cigarette litter is harmful to the environment. It is a common misconception that cigarette butts will biodegrade. Cigarette filters are actually made with plastic that will persist on land and in water for a long time. Beyond being unsightly, the cigarette butts also contain toxic chemicals like lead and arsenic which leach into soil and water when improperly disposed. Wildlife also run the risk of swallowing cigarette butts after mistaking them for food which may result in illness or death. Furthermore, littered cigarette butts can also cause damage to property and landscaping by starting accidental fires.
GOOD TO DO
Everyone can help keep roadways, waterways and public spaces cigarette litter-free by following these tips from Keep America Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.
- Before you light up, identify where you will dispose of your cigarette waste when you finish smoking. Use ash and ash/trash receptacles.
- Carry a pocket ashtray all the time or have a portable ashtray with you as you leave your home, office or car.
- Encourage fellow smokers to be responsible for their cigarette litter, too.
- Provide ash and trash receptacles at entrances, exits, loading docks, picnic areas as well as in parking lots and along walkways of your business. Remember, these should be placed where the people generally gather.
- Educate your employees about the importance of individual responsibility for a clean and safe working environment.
- Identify “transition points” in your community. Place ash and trash receptacles at these points and commit to proper maintenance of the receptacles.
- Encourage building owners and business managers to place ash receptacles at points outdoors where their employees and/or customers smoke.
- Distribute portable or pocket ashtrays and litter bags throughout your community, and educate citizens about individual responsibility for proper waste disposal.
- Coordinate “adopt-a-spot” programs with local community organizations, youth groups and school groups to augment the regular maintenance of public places by your employees.