Dive deeper: cigarette butts | Sustainable Coastlines

What's the problem?

We all know that smoking is bad for our health, but it’s also bad for our planet. Cigarette butts are the most littered plastic item in the entire world! It’s a common misconception that cigarette butts quickly biodegrade. In reality, the filter is made out of plastic cellulose acetate fibres.

Since cigarettes are so easily littered on the street, they quickly end up in our waterways and eventually, our moana. They leach nicotine and heavy metals into our waters and end up as microplastic pollution.

It is estimated by Keep New Zealand Beautiful that we have about 10 billion cigarette butts strewn across our country. That’s about 2,000 cigarette butts out in our nature per New Zealander! This is despite the fact that New Zealand has one of the lowest tobacco smoking rankings in the entire world, showing that this is a massive issue worldwide!

Small changes for big impact

Change your behaviour

Not smoking is the simple answer, but if you’re not ready to quit, always make sure your cigarette butts are disposed of responsibly. Because there aren’t always dedicated butt bins nearby, we recommend carrying a tin box with you — a repurposed mint tin is perfect!

Spread awareness! Tell others about this issue. It’s a very common belief that cigarette butts are biodegradable; set people straight and help them make an informed decision about what to do with their butts.

Get involved!

Organise your own cigarette butt, coastline or street clean up! Request a Sustainable Coastlines DIY kit and head out to your local park, pub or other area! Count your butts, take some pictures and share them!

Too busy to do a clean-up yourself but still want to help out? Leave a donation!

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