When is it ok to litter? When it’s a cigarette apparently!

I don’t smoke. I used to smoke all through high-school. At the end of grade 12, it was about a pack a day. That’s expensive, and what lead me to quit was that I got a pretty horrific cough and I was scarred (literally) into seeking out the patch. Quitting was TOUGH! But I haven’t smoked in over 10 years.

One of the things that I most dislike about smoking is the littering that’s associated with it. How often does the person in front of you in traffic throw his butt out the window? OFTEN! Why? Because they know their cigarette butts are gross? Because they don’t want them in their car? They don’t want to empty the ashtray? Well… I don’t want them on my street! Good people that wouldn’t litter under normal circumstances feel compelled to chuck butts out of car windows. You don’t unwrap your sandwich and throw that on the ground.  You don’t just hurl pop cans into the road. The theory behind and the physical act are one and the same, why for cigarette butts is it any different? Why? STOP IT!

Driving to work this morning, and the impetus of this post, was that I saw a woman in the vestibule of her building finishing a cigarette.  She walked 2 meters towards the road and threw the butt into the street. Well, Miss, IT’S STILL LITTERING! I guess she did it because next to the door it’s garbage and she doesn’t want to mess up the entrance way.  Well…. Nothing has changed except the location of said detritus.

It obviously bothers me a bit and because of that I started poking about the net this morning and responding to blog posts and one link lead to another, and another, and then I found this site called “How Can I Reuse This” and the topic of cigarette butts.  They didn’t really have very many good suggestions, but they did come up with “fabric” because “fibre is fibre”. Still, does anyone have any real suggestions? I couldn’t begin to guess how they could be recycled, but maybe you all have some ideas.

Anything? Anything at all? I know what we shouldn’t be doing with them: throwing them into the street!!



  1. Wow, good points. I’m a smoker, and I actually don’t even think about it when I flick butts around. Now I feel really bad. Especially because I’m working with this website: http://1800recycling.com.

    Thanks for opening my eyes on this, seriously.

    • You’re welcome. I’m sure it’s just habit and not a deliberate malicious act. People don’t look like they’re thinking about it when they do it, but I think that’s the problem.

      • becky said

        I hate flicking my butts, but i do it anyway. Why? Because my brand new car came without a cigarette lighter or ashtray. WTF? I’m a light smoker. Rarely more than 1 a day. That’s my morning commute cig. Now, I understand the whole public health debate, but when the detrius has no home in my car…i’m not going to jerry rig some stinky option (i tried that) of a way to dispose of butts. Of course I could by an expensive-cupholder using-accessory that will do this to us. On some level smokers have been pushed to the sidelines for our disgusting habit..so litter we will.

      • After reading your comment I googled “portable car ashtray”, this is what I found…
        Portable Car Ashtray SourcingMapMore amazing video clips are a click away

        Sometimes I love youtube, and sometimes I wonder out loud, “Why…?”

        Regardless, it’s a possible solution.

  2. hannah said

    what i have done in the past (using heavy duty gloves of course) is soak the butts in bleach solution first, drain them then add plaster of paris mix to water to make a slurry. dipping the butts into the slurry I place them around forms to make art work out of them. After they are done, I slather on more plaster of paris to smooth them out, and give the structure a stone look. When the whole thing is dry, i slip the form off and it becomes a relatively light weight art sculpture. someday I would like to either do or see a version of the thinker made out of butts, maybe have him sitting on a couple of packs of cigarettes, pack in his rolled sleeve, cigarette in his hand, staring at a mirror of himself looking 30 years older. thats what i do with the buts- any one else got any ideas?

    • That’s really cool. I don’t think I, given 100 years, would have been able to come up with such an interesting and original idea. Can you send over some pictures? I’d love to put them up on the blog!

  3. Sarah said

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