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.