Cigarette litter

Cigarette ends are difficult to clean up, as the small filters fall into grates and cracks in the pavement, avoiding detection by normal cleaning processes. The filters are made of a plastic that can take a long time to break down and be absorbed back into the environment. Here are some other facts:

  • 120 tonnes of cigarette litter is dropped in the UK every day. 
  • In the UK, cigarette butts account for around 40 per cent of litter, in the rest of the world, they account for around 50 per cent of all litter. 
  • A cigarette butt contains up to 4,000 chemicals including hydrogen, cyanide and arsenic. 
  • Cigarette filters can take up to 12 years to degrade. 
  • It takes one second to drop a cigarette butt. If it took the same time to pick it up again, it would take one person (working eight hours a day) nearly 20 years to collect the estimated 200 million cigarette butts that are thrown away in the UK each day.


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