Butts represent the most numerous form of trash that volunteers collect from the world’s beaches on the Ocean Conservancy’s cleanup days according to the Ocean Conservancy Trash Index. ocean conservancy coastal cleanup
Sorry readers! I am still in the fashion business and the butts were literally coming out everywhere! Even inspiring Our Waste Matters this week. But seriously….
More than two million cigarette butts were collected from our coastal areas in a single day—double the amount of both food containers and beverage containers.
- Cigarettes/Cigarette filters 2,117,931
- Food wrappers/containers 1,140,222
- Plastic beverage bottles 1,065,171
- Plastic bags 1,019,902
- Caps and lids 958,893
- Cups, plates, knives, forks, spoons 692,767
- Straws and stirrers 611,048
- Glass beverage bottles 521,730
- Beverage cans 339,875
- Paper bags 298,332
Along America’s roads, cigarette butts account for 37% of all litter retrieved (by number of units). This tiny, but huge, nuisance is made of a wood-based plastic fiber that takes generations to decompose, while leaching concentrated nicotine and tar into the ground or water and often times being fatally eaten by fish or birds.
The transparent crustacean Daphnia (often called a water flea) are planktonic animals which occupy a critical position in aquatic ecosystems, as they transfer energy and organic matter from algae to higher consumers. The presence of one cigarette butt per two gallons of water was enough to kill 100% of the water fleas. One half smoked cigarette butt can kill a goldfish in its standard sized bowl of water in a few days.
Cigarette butt consumption by small children and animals is a frequent source of concern and attention for poison control centers, parents and pet owners cautioning smokers to treat cigarette butts as toxic waste products and take more care in discarding them.
New York State Assemblyman and environmental leader, Michael DenDekker, crafted a bill to collect and recycle cigarette butts, giving collectors a penny per butt, paid for by a penny deposit per cigarette. The bill aims to set up collection facilities around the state for the redemption of cigarette waste.
EcoTech Displays created an outdoor advertising receptacle for cigarette butts currently being installed near restaurants and bars all over NYC, Chicago and Washington DC. http://www.eco-techdisplays.com
Terracycle is a very cool organization who turns all sorts of stuff into recycled products. You purchase a box from them, fill it up, and send it back. They make stuff from it. Sponsored by National Geographic, the following video supports them turning butts into benches. http://www.terracycle.com/en-US/
How You Can Help:
- Buy a box. Fill it up! http://zerowasteboxes.terracycle.com/collections/frontpage/products/cigarette-waste-sponsored-zero-waste-boxes
- A cigarette butt is a toxic thing that’s bad to fling! Dispose of them safely and with awareness.
- Stop smoking!
- Write to the tobacco companies to demand full product responsibility. http://www.cigwaste.org is a great organization who can help you.
- Support all anti-littering legislation. Your elected leaders love hearing from you.