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Clean CommunitiesGreen Homes & Businesses

Cigarette Litter Prevention

Cigarette butts are the most littered item in America and on the ground they instantly turn a beautiful place on its head. In addition to being unsightly, cigarette litter ends up getting washed down storm drains polluting our local waterways. No one wants to swim with cigarette butts!

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.

Smokers

  • 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.

Cigarettes are the most littered item in America.

Businesses

  • 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.

Local Government

  • 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.

FREE Cigarette Waste Receptacle Grant

Apply here for your workplace!

Environmental Education Grants

Get a mini grant for your project

Remember paper, plastic bottles, metal cans...

Take our fun quiz!
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Bay Star Business Logo with the tagline working together for clean healthy waterways

IS YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS A BAY STAR?

We live in a beautiful region surrounded by water. It impacts everything from the food we eat to the fun we have as well as our economic livelihood. Our daily actions have a lasting impact and it's up to us to protect and restore our waterways. It takes a community of individuals making small changes to make a difference. Getting involved in the Bay Star programs is one way you can be part of the effort to protect our region's most defining natural resource, water.

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