In a commentary by Julia Cartwright, she touches on how environmentally conscious our society has become, but the effects of cigarette butts on the environment are often ignored. Billions of cigarette butts litter our surroundings. In a recent poll, 88 percent of Americans surveyed recognized cigarette butts as an environmental concern. They are more than just an unpleasant sight. They are the number one litter item in the U.S. They are pervasive — made almost entirely of plastic — and only fully biodegrade under extreme circumstances. Cigarette butts also leach into the soil and contaminate waterways.
This Earth Day (April 22), Legacy has partnered with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (Leave No Trace) to get people re-thinking their views on this toxic substance, as reported in The New York Times. Beginning this month, new radio and television public service announcements aired in both English and Spanish will challenge everyone to “Rethink Butts.” Check them out on Rethinkbutts.org.
In 2011, according to The Tax Burden on Tobacco report, Americans bought more than 287 billion cigarettes. The end result usually consists of our streets, sidewalks, parks, beaches, landfills and waterways being strewn with the leftover butts. Though small, these cigarette butts are costly and negative on our society.
• Download and share the PSA content via your social media and the web during Earth Month in April and throughout the year. The PSAs will be available for download/share on the Legacy Facebook (Facebook/Legacy) page as well as online at RethinkButts.org. Follow Legacy on Twitter (@LegacyforHealth) for content related to this issue.
• Join a Twitter chat about the issue on April 22nd (Earth Day), from 2-3:30 ET. The #rethinkbutts hashtag will be used at this chat and throughout the month for news and information about the campaign.
• Download the toolkit with ideas from RethinkButts.org – post this URL, include information in an e-newsletter story, host a clean-up. There are endless ways to help stop toxic litter.
Julia Cartwright, MA
Senior Vice President, Communications