As we near Earth Day on Sunday, it is important to realize that one of the smallest and most commonly littered items is also one that causes enormous harm.

Cigarette butts are the most commonly discarded piece of waste worldwide, and they’re not biodegradable. It is estimated that 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts become toxic trash every year. Cigarettes contain 7,000 chemicals. This hazardous material can persist in the environment for 5 to 10 years. These chemicals can contaminate water and harm our environment.

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