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The Butt Problem

Approximately 4.5 trillion cigarette butts-or 1.69 billion pounds of butts– are tossed on the ground every year, making for the most littered item worldwide- beating out plastic bags, food wrappers, and bottles. Despite the fact that one study found that 91% of smokers believed cigarette butts to be litter, 74% reported they had littered their butts themselves.


Cigarettes don’t stop causing harm when they’re tossed on the ground. Contrary to popular believe, cigarette butts are not easily biodegradable because filters are made out of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic. Butts can take up to 25 years to decompose and all the while they’re leaking lead, arsenic, ammonia, and other toxins in to the soil and our water supply.


Boone County Solid Waste Management provides plenty of opportunities for locals to help cut down on cigarette litter and other trash. Through the Cleanest City in Indiana program, volunteers get together during their lunch hours once a month on Throw Away Thursdays to clean up litter at various locations around Lebanon. People and local businesses can also pick up “butt buckets” to use inside of cars and outside of buildings. Give them a call if you’re interested in volunteer cleanup events of butt buckets.

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