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Tiny but Deadly – An Opinion

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Tiny but Deadly – An Opinion

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[Note:  The Wildcat Wire accepts letters for publication.  Opinions expressed in letters to the editor, columns, or advertisements do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wildcat Wire or Culver-Stockton College.]

There is a silent epidemic on our campus, guess what it is. Students see them everyday and do not notice. Have you figured out what it is yet. Cigarette butts.

How many times do you pass by a cigarette butt and think nothing of it. According to The Terramar Project roughly 2.3 million cigarette butts are improperly disposed of, every minute.[1] Culver’s campus does not have that big of a problem, but any cigarette litter can pose a problem.

It takes anywhere from 10 to 15 years for a cigarette butt to decompose on its own. According to a study conducted Keep America Beautiful in 2009 cigarette litter accounts for 32% of all storm drain litter.[2] That combined with the fact that cigarette butts leach toxic materials such as lead and arsenic spells disaster for water tables around the world.

Cigarette butts are also danger to animals who eat the butts mistaking them for food. Ingested cigarette butts pose the same threat as other plastic litter. Cigarette filters are comprised of a plastic fiber called cellulous acetate. The animals’ stomach cannot digest this product and it stays there. As more and more indigestible material finds its way into the animal’s stomach it fills up and the animal dies of starvation on a full stomach.

Cigarette butts can also become a fire hazard during dry periods and are generally an eyesore.

But there is hope, cigarette butts are actually recyclable. The Terracycle offers a free recycling program just for cigarette waste.[3] Terracylce transforms the cigarette waste into new products. The program is free to sign up for and offers free printable shipping labels.[4] For every pound of cigarette butts recycled through the program Terracycle will donate $1.00 to the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. Terracycle also offers collection receptacles for not only cigarette butts but other items as well, at an additional cost.

Littering is everyone’s problem but together we can kick its butt.

Sources

The Terramar Project, “Breaking Down the Facts of Cigarette Pollution”, accessed March 28, 2019, https://theterramarproject.org/2018/05/21/breaking-down-cigarette-butt-pollution-the-facts/

Keep America Beautiful, “Economic and Environmental Impact of Cigarette Litter”,  accessed March 28, 2019, https://www.kab.org/cigarette-litter-prevention/economic-environmental-impact

Terracycle, “Cigarette Waste Recycling Program”, accessed March 28, 2019, https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/cigarette-waste-recycling

Terracycle, “Cigarette Waste Recycling Program- FAQ”, accessed March 28, 2019, https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/cigarette-waste-recycling/brigade_faqs

[1] The Terramar Project, “Breaking Down the Facts of Cigarette Pollution”, accessed March 28, 2019, https://theterramarproject.org/2018/05/21/breaking-down-cigarette-butt-pollution-the-facts/

[2] Keep America Beautiful, “Economic and Environmental Impact of Cigarette Litter”,  accessed March 28, 2019, https://www.kab.org/cigarette-litter-prevention/economic-environmental-impact

[3]Terracycle, “Cigarette Waste Recycling Program”, accessed March 28, 2019, https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/cigarette-waste-recycling

[4] Terracycle, “Cigarette Waste Recycling Program- FAQ”, accessed March 28, 2019, https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/cigarette-waste-recycling/brigade_faqs

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