Anti-Cigarette Litter Education Initiative

Many smokers discard their cigarette butts by the roadside or on the ground when they are driving or walking around out doors. Perhaps the prevailing view is that cigarette litter is too small to have a significant effect on water quality. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Cigarette litter is often carried into storm drains when it rains, where it is deposited in local streams and rivers. Nationwide, smokers litter about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts annually. About 95% of cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a plastic that persists in the environment for years and even decades. Cigarette filters concentrate a number of very toxic substances, which are released into our waterways when they are washed off roads and sidewalks into storm drains.

In July of 2010 RSEP volunteers spent two hours collecting cigarette butts on Charlottesville’s downtown mall. These butts were placed in a clear plastic cylinder to illustrate the ugly reality of the quantities of cigarette litter that are polluting our local waterways. In April 2011 the cylinder was exhibited at Charlottesville’s Eco-Fair along with posters and other explanatory material.

This is Litter Too
Jess & Jeff at Eco-Fair  Martin at Eco-Fair 
Jess Wenger and Jeff Sitler of UVA Environmental Health and Safety manning the RSEP antti-cigarette litter display at the Eco-Fair. Martin Johnson of the TJSWCD displays “The Cylinder” 
large cigarette litter poster thumbnail Click Here for a PDF version of our large (32” x 22”) education initiative poster.
Cigarette Litter Poster thumbnail Click Here for a an education initiative poster in MS Word format (11” x 17”).
CAT bus poster Click Here for a PDF version of our education initiative poster placed on 25 Charlottesville CAT buses (17” x 11”).