Is this the solution to the blight of cigarette butt littering?
Our concern for the environment does not just end with the safe disposal of commercial materials. In our view, protection of the environment and sustainable living is a mindset that extends to every facet of life – and one area where we as a society can improve is in the amount of litter we cause.
One form of litter that impacts practically every street, park and beach in this country is cigarette butts. The Keep Britain Tidy charity estimates more than 244million of them are dropped in the UK every year – that adds up to an incredible 104 tonnes of butts.
Deadly for marine life…
Worldwide the figure is even more staggering with 5 trillion cigarette butts becoming litter every year. Organisers of the International Coastal Cleanup initiative have found that cigarettes and cigarette butts constitute 30% of all litter found on beaches – twice as much as any other category of rubbish. And this litter can carry a deadly payload of carcinogens and nicotine that is found in all tobacco products. Research has revealed that one cigarette butt soaked in a litre of water for 96 hours leaches out enough toxins to kill half of the fresh or salt water fish exposed to them.
A new (biodegradable) hope?
What’s more – traditional butts are made from a non-biodegradable plastic – a synthetic polymer cellulose acetate that takes more than a decade to break-up. That’s where a new product called Greenbutts hopes to make a difference. Greenbutts’ filters are manufactured from a blend of natural materials, such as flax, hemp and cotton that, because they contain no chemicals or artificial binders, biodegrade naturally. It’s an advancement that, it is hoped, will halt the build-up of discarded cigarettes butts in our environment.
The product is patent-pending and it is hoped they will be available soon. Of course, the best solution would be for people to stop littering with cigarette butts in the first instance but, in the meantime, we think this is a step in the right direction.
If you would like to discuss this or any other waste management issue, please do not hesitate to call us on 01787 221 664.