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Cigarette Butts are Toxic Litter

It is a common misconception that cigarette butts are made of natural materials that break down harmlessly in the environment. Not true! The filter of a cigarette is made of plastic fibers. It collects many toxins as the cigarette is being smoked. When you flick that butt onto the ground, it most likely will end up washing into a local stream where it will begin to release toxic chemicals into the water. Waterfowl and fish may consume it (and its poisons) thinking it is food. Now the toxins have entered the food chain and may make their way onto your dinner plate and into your water glass.

The Cigarette Butt Problem

What can you do?

If you smoke, dispose of your butts in an ashtray or snuff them out cold and place in a trash receptacle. Carry a pocket ashtray, available on Amazon, when you are on the go.

Educate other smokers about the issue. 

If you don't smoke, talk to people who do about the problem. If you see a place where cigarette butts are numerous, such as outside a business or in their parking lot, encourage them to provide a cigarette disposal unit (see below). 

If you own a business, you can post our flyer (below) to educate your visitors about cigarette butt litter. You also can place a cigarette butt receptacle outside your door so that smokers have a proper place to dispose of their butts. Receptacles are available free to organizations, businesses, & home-owner associations from Keep Virginia Beautiful.

What we all can do: Pick up cigarette butt litter using a glove and a small bag so that you can dispose of properly later. Educate others. Join a cleanup event, such as Clean the Bay Day with Shenandoah Green in June. 

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