Littered cigarette butts represent potential point sources for environmental contamination.


In areas with substantial amounts of cigarette litter, environmental hazards may arise as chemical components are leached from the filters and smoked tobacco. The three main aims of this study were: (1) to quantify the amount of Al, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Mn, Ni, Sr, Ti and Zn leached from cigarette butts, (2) to determine the relationship between the pH of the aqueous soaking solution and metal concentration leached and (3) to determine the relationship between the period of soaking in aqueous solution and metal concentration leached.

Cigarette butts are the most littered item. At least 70% of the street litter is cigarette butts.

Cigarette Litter Facts

• Cigarette litter is about toxic waste
• One cigarette butt may contaminate 8 litres of water
• Only 10% of cigarette butts are deposited in litter receptacles
• 35% of smokers toss five or more cigarette butts per pack on the ground
• Many cities has already a specific regulation policy, where butt littering is fined
• But no prevention programmes or cigarette litter waste management strategy

Spanish market numbers

• 46.500.000.000 cigarettes are sold in Spain per year (domestic market)
• This represents about 141.000 tons of cigarette butts littered every year
• As a CAF (cellulose acetate flake) raw material, would be worth approximately 45.600.000.-€
• If incinerated, the cigarette liter might generate 670.000MWh of power, with an approximate value of 37.000.000.-€