Cigarette butts, the most littered item in the world, with roughly 4.5 trillion being tossed each year. I wrote a blog about the world not being an ashtray, which can be found here. Down below I offer a solution to this problem.
The lobbying group American for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) reported that 1.69 billion pounds of butts ended up as toxic waste last year.
- There are over 176,000,000 pounds of discarded cigarette butts in the United States each year.
The cigarette butts present a serious hazard to our natural world.
Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are NOT biodegradable! Cigarette butt waste is a huge environmental issue, with a global impact — it is both unsightly and unhealthy.
The butt itself is comprised of two parts: A plastic filter and the remnants of the used tobacco. While the leftover tobacco is by definition biodegradable, the filters are made from a plastic called cellulose acetate, a compound that eventually breaks down but never disappears. Ever. which can take many (estimated 2 to 25) years to decompose. Cigarette butts may seem small, but with several trillion butts littered every year, the toxic chemicals add up!
Combine that with the roughly 4,000 chemicals found in cigarettes, and you’ve got the recipe for a pretty awful eco-aftertaste.
- Cigarettes contain over 165 chemicals – Some of the chemicals smokers inhale:
- Benzo[a]pyrene: found in coal tar and cigarette smoke and it is one of the most potent cancer causing chemical in the world.
- Arsenic: deadly poison that causes diarrhea, cramps, anemia, paralysis and malignant skin tumors. It is used in pesticides.
- Acetone: It’s one of the active ingredients in nail polish remover.
- Lead: Lead poisoning stunts growth, causes vomiting, and causes brain damage.
- Formaldehyde: causes cancer, can damage lungs, skin, and digestive systems. Embalmers use it to preserve dead bodies.
- Toluene: highly toxic, commonly use as an ingredient in paint thinner.
- Butane: highly flammable butane is one of the key components in gasoline.
- Cadmium: cause damage to the liver, kidneys and brain, and stays in the body for years.
- Ammonia: causes individuals to absorb more nicotine, keeping them hooked on smoking.
- Benzene: found in pesticides and gasoline.
- Plastic pieces have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, whales, and other marine creatures that mistake them as food, swallowing harmful plastic and toxic chemicals. Ingestion of plastic cigarette filters is a threat to wildlife. Sometimes even young children pick up and ingest cigarette butts.
- Wind and rain often carry cigarette butts into waterways, where the toxic chemicals in the cigarette filters leak out, threatening the quality of the water and the creatures that live in it.
The easiest way to make a difference? Don’t litter in the first place !
We live in an unconscious world where most people are not conscious of this world we live in, we develop and conform to these bad habits as we tend to view it as being normal. Here are my site, I try to offer solutions and ideas to the issues at hand. I don’t have all the answers, but maybe an idea I have can spark another in another person.
Often times when I protested at the beaches here in Puerto Rico, I would carry a sign around stating that the world is not an ashtray.
During the protest, many would ask, well what can I do with the cigarette butts? I would tell them, that beer can you hold that is empty is one viable solution but here is another.
Along with all the cigarette butts that get discarded daily, I notice another trend, people also discard the empty cigarette boxes everywhere as well. Not all people, but I see those empty boxes littered in many beaches here.
So with the many as 10 packs of cigarette that cigarette smokers consume, why not take one of those empty boxes and use it as an ashtray.
Simply, take the empty box and instead of flicking it carelessly all over the place, you instead deposit it inside that very box. Then you empty that box in a proper container at the end of the day and reuse that same box to repeat the process or use one of your new shiny box of the next pack you buy.
We have to start taking responsibility for our actions and stop leaving these negative footprints, the footprints of humanity behind. We should not be used to this way of being. We should strive to improve ourselves everyday so that we can improve the quality of life around us.
I often think that with all these toxic chemicals that are in these cigarette butts that many smokers know full well what they are consuming, that there mentality is, “well I don’t care about poisoning my own body, why should I care about poisoning the rest of the world. ”
I think that is a mentality that has to change.
So I implore you to please discard your cigarette butts appropriately. Please share this with others. Regardless if you smoke or not, many of you have many friends that smoke and stay silent to them littering making you complicit to their actions. Please be vocal and stop accepting this behavior as normal.
WE ARE THE CHANGE.