Every time I sit in the sand when I go to the beach, I always end up digging and finding cigarette butts. Sometimes, I even feel like there are more cigarettes than seashells. With nearly 150,000 cigarette butts thrown directly to the ground every second in the world, cigarette butt is the most littered item in the world. Now, you may be wondering what the connection between cigarettes and plastic is.
The world’s most littered plastic item
Well, cigarette butts are made of plastic. Indeed, they are made of a plastic called cellulose acetate. And so, they are increasing plastic pollution. Indeed, they are the most abundant form of plastic waste globally, with about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts polluting our environment. When we know that a single cigarette butt can pollute up to 500 liters of water, the impact of this waste on water resources worldwide is catastrophic. And, I don’t even mention all the plastic lighters that are thrown away.
The worst is that they contain hundreds of toxic chemicals. And, if cigarettes can take about 12 years to decompose, the toxic chemicals released in the environment can take much longer. Besides, they are harmful to marine life. Finally, cigarette filters break down into microplastics and as you may know, it’s hard to get rid of them.
What about e-cigarette?
In the past few years, a new cigarette became trendy, and its sales increased rapidly: the e-cigarette. In the beginning, it was entirely single-use, but now the pods are replaceable. Since they are a mix of plastic but also electronic waste, it makes it hard to recycle. Not to mention the presence of nicotine which is toxic for marine life but also for your health.
You need to make sure that cigarette butts find their way to the waste bin or are sent to a recycling facility. You can also help cleaning your neighborhood by collecting cigarette butts even if it can seem unpleasant.
Finally, you can encourage others to play their role and remind them of the dangers of smoking. And, you can join us on our mission to do beterre for our children but also for future generations. And please remember that smoking is bad for your health but also for our environment.