North west smokers drop enough butts to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every year
Smokers in the north west drop enough cigarette butts to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool every year, according to new research.
According to the figures, smokers in the north west drop 246 tonnes of cigarette-related waste in the street every year, which councils have to clean up.
That’s on top of another 360 tonnes of waste which is put in bins.
The figures come from an analysis of numbers from anti-smoking organisation Ash. E-cigarette retailer Vapourcore crunched the numbers and found that smokers in the north west generated the third largest amount of street litter in England, behind only puffers in the south east (261 tonnes) and London (257 tonnes).
According to the “Ready Reckoner” tool created by Ash.org.uk, in England, an estimated 15.5 per cent of the 18-plus population smoke cigarettes (2016) – that’s 6,739,832 adult smokers – at an approximated £12.6 billion cost to society each year.
Part of this cost is in the clean-up. In England, 62 per cent of people drop litter, and smoking materials constitute 35 per cent of all street litter. Smokers in England consume about 75 million cigarettes every day. Of these, roughly 65.5 million are filtered. Most cigarette filters are non-biodegradable and must be collected and disposed of in landfill sites.
Consequently, discarded cigarette butts amount to 11 tonnes of waste daily. This represents 4,071 tonnes of waste annually, of which 1,710 is discarded as street litter that must be collected by local authorities. That’s enough cigarette butts found discarded on the streets of England to fill seven Olympic swimming pools every year (and that’s not counting cigarette packaging and other smoking-related litter).
Charles Bloom, managing director of Vapourcore.com, said: “Cigarette waste is a huge problem. Today, consumers are more conscious of waste than ever before. Now, people think twice before purchasing a plastic bottle or disposable coffee cup – even a straw – and the very same mentality should be applied to cigarette butts.
“Of course, not only is the filter component damaging to the environment, but the nicotine, formaldehyde, arsenic, ammonia and other chemicals found in cigarettes are damaging too. Damaging to our wildlife, dangerous to our children and harmful to society; we have a responsibility to recognise this is a problem too big to ignore.”
*The scale of smoking-related litter cited in the Ready Reckoner tool is restricted to the contribution of discarded cigarette butts containing filters, which are almost exclusively non-biodegradable.