Litter from smoking is the most common type of rubbish on the streets of Scotland.
Surveys show that just under half of our streets have some form of tobacco-related litter, including cigarette butts, matches and packaging.
In our towns and cities that rises to 70%. Overall, 122 tonnes of butts and tobacco litter is dropped every day in the UK.
The rubbish consists of relatively small items but they can add up to a very big headache for those who have to clean them up, according to our friends at environmental charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.
We’re delighted their Clean Up Scotland initiative has been running the Spotlight on Smoking Litter campaign, encouraging smokers to ‘bin your butt’.
Those discarded cigarette ends can easily become trapped between paving stones and be washed into drains, causing blockages and flooding. They can leak toxins that contaminate water and harm marine life and the environment.
Some smokers think butts will biodegrade quickly – but because of their plastic content, experts believe they take decades to disappear.
BIN THE BUTT
So tobacco users are being encouraged to dispose of their cigarette ends, matches and used packs in a bin (preferably an ashtray bin). They can also buy a portable ashtray to pop in their pocket and dispose of later. They’re available online.
That way smokers can avoid a £50 Fixed Penalty Notice for inappropriately disposing of a cigarette end – set to increase to £80 from April.
If you’re not a smoker, you can help too. If you come across a pile of cigarette litter, notify your local authority.
You could also organise a Clean Up event focused on tobacco-related rubbish.
Or sign the Clean Up Scotland pledge at
That way we can help lessen the effects on the economy of smoking litter that add to the health costs from tobacco we know about so well.
Picture: Keep Scotland Beautiful/Clean Up Scotland