Butt littering is a big problem, and you need only look around to see how widespread it is.
Nearly one in every two items found in the litter stream is a cigarette butt.
By volume they might not seem to amount to much compared to plastics, paper or cardboard, but lots of these tiny items are being littered every day.
The costs of managing and cleaning up the resulting butt litter are difficult to determine and quantify. While local governments bear the main costs, significant costs are also incurred by many other stakeholders: business owners, property managers, land and facility managers and public transport operators, to name just a few.
However, the cost of butt littering must be measured in more than just financial terms. Butt litter has a broader social cost that impacts on liveability. It also has damaging environmental impacts on our waterways, animals, fish and birds because of the toxins that leach from the discarded butts.
It is therefore important to have a clear understanding of problems associated with butt littering before putting solutions in place to address them.
What are the impacts, for example? The detrimental environmental, social and economic consequences of butt littering are not widely recognised.
How big is the problem? A common perception is that butt littering can't really be a big problem because cigarette butts are so small.
What are the causes? Attitudes, awareness and behaviour all contribute to butt littering.
We know that littering behaviour in general is a complex phenomenon. There is no such thing as a stereotypical litterer, including those who litter cigarette butts.
No one likes butt litter, yet butts are still dropped: "no bin nearby", "too lazy", "no ashtray available", "it's a habit" or "don't really know why".
Butt Free Australia was established specifically to address butt littering behaviour. Butt FREE projects and campaigns work to educate the wider community and encourage behavioural change.