In 2017 Keep Charlestonston Beautiful was generously provided a grant from Keep America Beautiful to help reduce cigarette litter. Using this grant funding, KCB was able to fabricate educational signage and purchase cigarette butt receptacles, which were gifted to water adjacent businesses, restaurants, and marinas/boat landings. Receptacles are emptied and maintained by the property owners. In addition, KCB was also able to purchase mobile smoker poles, and education bumper stickers for vehicles. As a city with an integral connection to local waterways, our focus was to reduce the amount of cigarette butts making their way into these environments via targeting water adjacent properties.
Myths about cigarette butts:
"They are harmless and quickly decompose."
"It's not litter."
"I don't see an ashtray/trashcan, so it's okay to throw it on the ground."
"Cigarette butts are tiny, so they won't make a big impact."
"I don't want it smelling up my car, so tossing it out my window is O.K."
"There are already some on the ground. A few more won't hurt."
Facts about cigarette butts:
Dropping cigarette butts on the ground is littering and it is illegal.
Cigarettes are the most littered item in the Nation!
Cigarette litter represents over 20% of all litter collected in community cleanup initiatives in the U.S.
Cigarette filters are mostly cellulose acetate (plastic fibers), and they stay in the environment for years!
Check out our flyer about Cigarette Butt Litter and share it with your community! CLPP Flyer (PDF)
Here are ways you can help:
Encourage smokers to use public, portable and pocket ashtrays. Keep Charleston Beautiful provides pocket ashtrays to interested members of the community. Locate proper disposal options before you light.
Let people know you care. You can report car based litter violations to 1-877-7LITTER (754-8837), a litter hotline supported by PalmettoPride.
Fun Fact: Cigarette butts can be recycled!
Cigarette butts are collected and shipped to TerraCycle by organizations like KCB. The residual tobacco and paper are separated out and composted. The filter, which is made of a white synthetic fiber called cellulose acetate, is thoroughly cleaned, melted, and pelletized using a method called extrusion.
The cellulose acetate pellets are then combined with other plastics, such as polyethylene or polypropylene, and used for new plastic products such as ashtrays, shipping pallets, or plastic lumber.