I have seen countless cigarette butts littered on the street or on the beach, and it wouldn’t surprise me if many of the individuals who liter them are those who otherwise act in an environmentally responsible manner. So when I stumbled on this NYTimes article from a few years ago it made me wonder how people’s actions differ between perceived forms of trash.
“Littering is one of my pet peeves, and I always told my kids they’d be in big trouble if I catch them doing it,” said Ms. Scott, a 43-year-old financial executive, as she sat outside an office tower on Michigan Avenue in Chicago on a recent sunny afternoon. “I see people throw stuff out their car windows, and I cringe.”
Yet she confesses that she routinely discards cigarette butts on the sidewalk. For her and countless other American smokers, cigarette butts are an exception to the no-littering rule. “Aren’t cigarettes biodegradable?”
Still other smokers see butts as a more natural kind of trash than, say, a plastic bottle. But they are not biodegradable: they contain plastic filters that enter sewers and storm drains, and get swept into rivers and then out to sea, where they can release toxic chemicals including nicotine, benzene and cadmium.
Some individuals are brainstorming more creative ways to combat this problem. Ben Forman, a designer from the UK, recently introduced “Cigg Seeds“, cigarettes with biodegradable filters that contain wild flower seeds.
Even the tobacco giants are making a public effort to address the challenge. But would they pass the Really? test?
For the entire article, click here