Cigarette Litter Prevention

Cigarette Litter Facts

Cigarette butts may be small, but it doesn’t mean that cigarette litter is a small problem:

  • Approximately 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide each year. 
  • Only 10% of cigarette butts are properly deposited in ash receptacles. 
  • Over 80% of smokers said they would properly dispose of their butts if ash receptacles were available. 
  • Cigarette butts are not biodegradable, they are plastic, and contain 4,000 toxic chemicals and 50 carcinogens. 
  • When cigarette butts are flicked out of a car’s window or dropped on the ground, they often end up in storm drains which flow directly into our creeks and water supplies. 
  • If ingested, cigarette butts can choke or poison children or animals with their toxins. 
  • Cigarette butts can start fires if not extinguished.

What the City Does

To combat cigarette litter in downtown Plano, Live Green in Plano was awarded a 2017 Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant to purchase cigarette butt stations, portable ashtrays for vehicles and a public education campaign. 

After smokers deposit their cigarette butts into the “buttlers,” they are emptied and shipped to TerraCycle. TerraCycle recycles the butts into plastic industrial products and donates $1 for every pound (approximately 100 butts) to Keep America Beautiful. Check out the new cigarette “buttlers” in downtown Plano.

Cigarette Litter Scan

In December 2016, a cigarette litter baseline scan was conducted in downtown Plano. Over 1,225 cigarette butts were collected on a Friday and Saturday from sidewalks and planters outside of the shops and restaurants on 15th Street, K Ave and McCall Plaza. 

Based on this data, Live Green in Plano applied for a Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program grant and has purchased and installed 15 self-extinguishing ash receptacles in downtown Plano to prevent cigarette litter. Live Green in Plano will conduct follow up cigarette litter scans to quantify cigarette butt litter in downtown.

Cigarette Buttler dispensor in Downtown Plano.