Cigarette Butt Litter

cigarette butts Cigarette Butt Litter Educational Resources

Litter breeds litter, and such is the case when it relates to cigarette butt litter. It is estimated that several trillion cigarette butts are littered on our sidewalks, beaches, nature trails, gardens, and other public places worldwide every single day worldwide. In fact, cigarettes are the #1 item littered in California, in the US and around the world. Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate tow (plastic), NOT COTTON, and they can take decades to degrade. Not only is cigarette litter unsightly, its toxic residue is damaging to the wildlife and our environment. Littered butts cause numerous fires every year, some of them fatal.

Did You Know?
Since 2014, our cleanup site captains been separating, counting and sending thousands of cigarette butts to Terracyle, a company that recycles their plastic filter to produce new items such as ashtrays, guitar picks and flower pots.


PBC’s Cigarette Butt Campaign 2015 Actions:

  • Installation of black pots at multiple locations in Pacifica and Mussel, including 20 pots on Pacifica Pier. 1 pot will be soon placed at Pillar Point Harbor.
  • Installation of 14 stainless collection containers purchased by PBC – Article & Picture
  • Partnership with PBC’s volunteers helped collect data for their Don’t Drop and Drive campaign.


If you feel like more could be done, there are many ways you can help:

  • Come to our monthly beach cleanups and pick up cigarette butts
  • Become a site captain at a new location to help us expand our reach
  • Install and monitor a pot at a location in need
  • Donate to help with our education and outreach program
  • Send us your ideas and suggestions