Latest News

The impact of cigarette filters on the environment

On Friday 2nd February, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) published Issue 45 of Perspectives.

With the Issue titled, “Plastic Tobacco Filters. A problematic and unnecessary plastic impacting the environment and human health”, No More Butts founder and executive director, Shannon Mead talked about the connection to the triple planetary crisis, UNEP Issues of Concern and advises countries to take action on cigarette filters, as part of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for the Global Plastics Treaty.

Citing documents and research from the World Health Organization, Professor Thomas Novotny, as well as The Belgian Superior Heath Council, Mead used this article to remind readers of the environmental impacts of cigarette butts, as well as lesser-known impacts to human health.

Referencing the Triple Planetary Crisis of Climate Change, Loss of Biodiversity and Pollution, Mead also noted the ongoing research from the UNEP into Issues of Concern, including several chemicals and microplastics that are found in cigarette filters, which can cause unpleasant side effects for both people and the environment.

Highlighting the global Plastics Treaty and the upcoming fourth Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) in Ottawa, Canada, Mead informed delegates from member states and Civil Society Organizations alike, of the necessity to call for a ban on cigarette filters as part of the Treaty negotiations.

Mead concludes that cigarette filters are a problematic and avoidable plastic and therefore should be banned as part of the process.

No More Butts is an environmental charity taking action on tobacco product waste, including cigarette butts, which are the littered item in the world. Made from cellulose acetate, cigarette butts are not biodegradable and leach chemicals into the environment. It has been reported to take 15 years for a cigarette butt to decompose, causing damage to marine life along the journey. Cigarette butts can enter the food chain as they break into micro fibres.

Send this to a friend