Smoking related litter includes items such as cigarette filters, matchsticks and discarded cigarette packets. Smoking litter is one of the most common types of litter having a negative effect on local environmental quality it is unsightly and difficult to clean up.
The small filters build up around grids, gutters and other litter traps. The filters are composed of cellulose acetate, which is a kind of plastic, and can take anywhere between 18 months to 500 years to break down and be absorbed back into the environment. Smoking related litter can also be dangerous - it leaks toxins into watercourses posing a serious threat to wildlife. The combination of a still burning cigarette dropped into litter is a significant fire hazard.
According to ENCAMS Local Environmental Quality Survey of England 2006/07, smoking related litter was found in 78% of all locations surveyed.
Around 122 tonnes of cigarette butts, matchsticks and other cigarette related litter are dropped every day across the UK. It costs an estimated £342 million per year to clean up the 200 million cigarette butts thrown away every day by UK smokers.
Portable ashtrays are widely available.
If you smoke please dispose of your cigarette ends sensibly in an appropriate ash tray.