Your butts are plastic.

Made of non-biodegradable cellulose acetate—a type of plastic—cigarette butts are the most common form of plastic litter found on beaches worldwide. They’re not biodegradable, and we toss an estimated 1.69 BILLION pounds of them each year.

Cigarette butts do damage far beyond the plastic pollution left in our environment. Once littered they leach toxic chemicals—including acetic acid, hexamine, arsenic, and chromium—into our water table, where these chemicals can remain for as many as 10 years and can be poisonous to the fish and wildlife that ingest them.

There are currently more than a thousand cities and countries in the United States with smoke-free laws in effect and we have historically supported bills to that effect. In 2017 we endorsed SB 386, sponsored by Senator Steven M. Glazer, in an effort to make California’s state parks smoke-free; unfortunately, the bill was vetoed by Governor Brown in October.

But the thing to remember about cigarette butts is: You can avoid them. Start by not smoking—better for the environment and for you. If that’s not possible, try going filterless or rolling your own. Then take our #plasticfree pledge!



Journal of Polymers and the Environment: 0258-0

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