Cigarette butts are the top polluter in virtually every NEC cleanup, total this year being 578. In fact, smokers buy roughly 6.5 trillion cigarettes a year, many of which find their way into the environment. Cigarette butts contain a plastic filter that leaches nicotine, heavy metals, and any other chemicals it’s absorbed into the environment. This can poison wildlife and inhibit plant growth.
Despite their papery appearance, cigarettes are one of the worst plastic polluters. Please dispose of cigarette butts properly, when possible, rather than letting them continue to damage our ecosystems.