Unfortunately cigarette butts still top the charts in terms of most frequently littered items, claiming the spot of the #1 most littered item for the last many years. In terms of individual items, cigarette butts represent more than 20% of all the litter collected during community cleanup initiatives in the U.S. The filters of cigarettes, what we refer to as "the butt", is actually made up of small plastic fibers called cellulose acetate. It is a common misconception that butts will break down over time, but unfortunately the plastic fibers they're composed of persist in the environment.
Keep Charleston Beautiful's Cigarette Litter Prevention Program focuses on cleanup and prevention of this common type of litter.
Free Wall-Mounted Cigarette Butt Receptacle
Thanks to the generosity of Keep America Beautiful, Keep Charleston Beautiful is offering FREE cigarette butt receptacles to interested entities located within the City of Charleston. These are wall-mounted receptacles, which have internal metal tubes that slide out for easy emptying. Those requesting receptacles must have permission from the property owner prior to installing receptacles. Applicants must agree to install and maintain the receptacles. If desired, cigarette butts can be returned to the KCB office for recycling through Terracycle.
Join The "Butt Brigade"!
Do littered cigarette butts drive you nuts? Consider joining The Butt Brigade! The Butt Brigade is an unofficial volunteer group focused on the cleanup of cigarette butt litter specifically. Interested individuals or small groups can request one of our free Butt Brigade kits, which consists of washable, reusable gloves and a small bucket with a screw-on lid to help reduce any odors. Once your bucket is full of butts, it can be returned to our office. All collected cigarette butts get mailed off to Terracycle, for specialty recycling! That's right, the plastic fibers get turned into plastic pellets for use in material manufacturing, and the tobacco ingredients get composted.
Check out our flyer about Cigarette Butt Litter and share it with your community! CLPP Flyer (PDF)