Our Cigarette-Butt Litter Is Staggering

New York state alone gets 1.5M tons of them annually
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2015 3:59 PM CDT

(Newser) – Cigarette butts aren't just nasty, they're turning up all over the place and damaging the environment, National Geographic reports. Every year, New York state alone is said to create 1.5 million tons of butts, while 2.1 million of them were found in the world's oceans in a single day. So what's the big deal? The filters' plastic fibers take decades to decompose, while tar and nicotine can creep into the water or soil and animals can be poisoned or choke on them.

On the bright side, companies like TerraCycle in New Jersey are recycling butts into plastic goods, the Hartford Courant reports. And CBS Sacramento reports that Sally Dawley—known as "The Butt Lady of Auburn" (Auburn, Calif., that is)—devotes her time to collecting butts: "I got tired of seeing cigarette butts everywhere," she says. "[Smokers who toss them] are inconsiderate and uncaring." (Meanwhile, go ahead and keep smoking—there's a 67% chance it'll kill you.)

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