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Cigarette Butt Litter Facts

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  • It takes 12 years for a cigarette butt to break down. During this time, toxic chemicals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic are leached into soil and rivers.
  • The Central City Improvement District removes six thousand kilograms of cigarette butts each year to keep the Cape Town CBD clean.
  • Cigarette butts are among the top 10 list of marine polluters
  • Worldwide, cigarette butts are the most commonly collected items during cleanups
  • Whales, Fish, birds, and other sea creatures mistake cigarette butts for food and filters have been found in the stomachs of these animals
  • Discarded cigarette butts have been common culprits for fires in homes and forests. 1,000 lives are lost, and 3,000 people injured annually as a result of fires caused by cigarette butts.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 cigarette butts are littered.
  • Across the world, more than 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered annually, making them the most littered item.
  • If all the littered cigarette butts were lined up, they would cover 9 million square kilometres.



2 thoughts on “Cigarette Butt Litter Facts

  1. I am a prospective client, i think what your company does is really great and i truly got aware of the effects through your site. I was curious however as to what happens after collection of the butts. How are these further disposed. I work for a small company which employs mostly youth and smoke breaks are the norm and wish to introduce this to my employer. I am fascinated by the facts provided here and wish to learn more of how does your company then rids of this unwanted toxicality of the butts .

    1. Hi Vikelwa, thank you for your positive feedback. We have 2 options – either purchase the bins or lease them. On the lease option we service the bins bi-monthly. The cigarette butts are removed from the bins and are sent to a depot where they are incinerated after which the smoke is scrubbed to ensure there is no negative impact on the environment.

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