cigarette butt bins

Don’t Be a Tosser

Cigarette filters have been identified as the most common form of litter and it’s estimated that 4.5 trillion butts become litter worldwide each year.  Cigarette butts also account for about 28 percent of littered items washing up on beaches worldwide and Paihia is no exception.

In response, BAY BUSH ACTIONS’s, beach cleaning group, BAY BEACH CLEAN, in conjunction with FOCUS PAIHIA, has installed a number of stainless steel Butt Bins in an effort to help keep our beaches and reserves clean and protect our marine animals who commonly mistake the filters for food. The Butt Bins have been placed strategically in places where Bay Beach Clean found the most discarded filters.

Contrary to popular belief, cigarette filters are not biodegradable.  It takes them around 10-15 years to breakdown and, even then, they only dissipate into smaller and smaller parts rather than biodegrade. The plasticized filters enter sewers and storm drains getting swept out into our Bay where they can release toxic chemicals including nicotine, benzene and cadmium. Fortunately there is a biodegradable alternative (http://green-butts.com) close to coming on the market.  It’s starch based and breaks down in 2 months, but this will likely be only released overseas initially so don’t hold your breath.

If you’re a smoker, please, don’t be a tosser. Keep an eye out for the new Butt Bins and discard of your litter thoughtfully.  Let’s make the job of our volunteer beach cleaners a little easier and at the same time clean up our town and help protect our valuable marine species.

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