While most people are aware of the risks involved in smoking, few seem to realise that cigarettes are also bad for the environment.
About 24 billion cigarettes are sold in Australia each year. It is estimated that 7 billion of these cigarettes are littered.
Some of the environmental impacts of cigarette butts:
- When it rains, cigarette butts lying in our streets and gutters are carried via stormwater directly into our harbours, beaches and rivers. The chemicals contained in these butts and the butts themselves impact on our water quality and can be deadly to marine life.
- Flicked butts can cause fires. When thrown from a motor vehicle into dried grass, butts can start a grassfire or even a bushfire.
- Cigarette butts can take up to 12 months to break down in freshwater and up to 5 uears to break down in seawater.
- Littered butts seriously reduce the aesthetic quality of any environment.
- Butts have been found in the stomachs of young birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures.
Download our Cigarette Butts Fact Sheet (78.63kb)
What Can I do?
Educate your family and friends about the impact that littered cigarette butts have on the environment.
If you're a smoker, why not purchase the Go Green Pocket Ashtray for $1.59 available in Coles, Bi-Lo, Coles Express, Liquorland, Theos and Vintage Cellars outlets. What's more, 10c from the sale of each ashtray is donated to the Go Green Environment fund, the beneficiaries of which are Clean Up Australia, Landcare and Planet Ark.