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Cigarette butts

Cigarettes are one of the main polluters of the island's beaches.

Here's what planet aware is doing about it.

The problem...

Cigarette butts are one of the most littered items in the UK. Research by Keep Britain Tidy found that many smokers believe cigarette butts are biodegradable, but they are actually made of a type of plastic. They can take 14 years to break down, and in doing so will release toxins and microplastics into the environment. 

The impact...

Cigarette butts that are littered can find their way to the ocean, such as through drains and waterways. The chemicals that they release as they break down contaminate the water and impact marine life. Marine life will also try to eat the cigarette butts. 

"Cigarettes are a key contributor to the plastic pollution problem. Single-use plastic cigarette filters are consistently in the top 5 items found on UK beaches during our Great British Beach Clean."


Marine Conservation Society

What is Planet Aware doing about it?

We surveyed the number of cigarette butts we collected this year on our beach cleans. We are looking to put in place some positive action to raise awareness and reduce the number of butts on the island's beaches.

What can YOU do? 

  • Cigarette butts should be correctly disposed of in a bin.

  • DO NOT put cigarettes down the drain - drains are not filtered to remove them and they will end up in waterways and eventually the ocean. 

  • If you see littered cigarette butts, such as on the beach, put them in a bin (make sure to wash your hands afterward or wear gloves).

  • Join us on one of our beach cleans to help us in our efforts to clean litter off of the island's beaches.

Here are some links to find out more about cigarette butts:

Cigarette butts - MCS
Cigarette butts can take 14 years to break apart - Keep Britain Tidy


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