Cigarette butts: Worst type of litter in America

Plastic straws, balloons garnering much of recent 'environmental' attention


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Starbucks, Disney and American Airlines are just a few of the companies that have announced plans to ban or to drastically eliminate the use of plastic straws. The new overtures come as the awareness of plastic straws and how they are deposed moves to the forefront.

While disposal of straws, balloons and plastics have come under scrutiny, according to the Keep America Beautiful's most recent survey, the aforementioned plastics aren't the worst for the environment. 

Cigarette butts top the environment organization's list for the worst litter.

In the past decade, cigarette smoking in America has decreased by 28 percent, yet cigarette butts remain the most littered item in the U.S. and across the globe, according to Keeping America Beautiful.

The group's research suggests the littering rate for cigarette butts is 65%, and tobacco products comprise 38 percent of all U.S. roadway litter.

Though cigarette butts may be small, when they are carelessly dropped to the ground instead of properly disposed of, their litter has a big effect, said Keep America Beautiful researchers, who argue that cigarette butts make up some 38% of the environment's physical waste.  

Paper, food wrappers, confections and napkins/tissues are also among the worst types of litter in the United States. 

According to one the leading organizations, "For A Strawless Ocean," says Americans uses more than 500 million a day. The group says most of those end up in our oceans, polluting the water and killing marine life.