According to Keep America Beautiful (KAB), 65 percent of all cigarette butts are disposed of improperly, which is why Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. has teamed up with TerraCycle to do something about cigarette butt litter.
With funding from Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. (SFNTC), TerraCycle is launching a national program, The Cigarette Waste Brigade, to collect and recycle cigarette waste. By sponsoring this program, SFNTC is not only taking responsibility for the end-life of its products, but also for the products of its competitors.
According to both the Ocean Conservancy and Keep America Beautiful, cigarette waste is one of the most prevalent forms of litter worldwide, with 65 percent being improperly discarded. In fact, cigarette filters (and other related tobacco waste) are the number one item recovered during the annual Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Day, with over 52 million cigarette filters collected from beaches in the past 25 years.

They’re also a source of litter in a variety of public outdoor spaces, including sidewalks, roadways, parks, shopping malls and office buildings. In 2009, a Keep America Beautiful study found that cigarette waste accounted for 38 percent of all U.S. roadway litter.

Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are not biodegradable and do not break down quickly. Even the butts that are "properly" disposed of are sent to a landfill, where they take up space and can leach chemicals into the ground. The cigarette waste collection program will make this pervasive waste recyclable for the first time by pelletized the waste and using it to make industrial products like shipping pallets.
How does it work?
It’s easy and free to participate in the Cigarette Waste Brigade. Interested individuals can visit to sign up for the Brigade. Filters can be collected normally in receptacles such as ashtrays and smokers urns. Collectors then bag the waste in any plastic bag — which gets recycled as well — before being placed in a shipping box.
Once enough waste is collected, collectors log into their account and print a free prepaid UPS shipping label to return their box at no cost.
For more information on how to sign up and send in waste, visit