Cigarette Butt Litter.. The Solution
September 14, 2006 12:01am CST
The simple Solution to the Cigarette Butt Litter problem I am not a smoker but I respect the right of people to smoke providing they are not disturbing others, particularly me. I understand that some people do enjoy smoking and I readily sympathize with those who have become addicted to nicotine and are either unable or unwilling to kick the habit. . Governments past and present have willingly gone along with the Tobacco Companies in order that they derive Excise and Sales Tax benefits. Our economy now depends on the windfall. Little genuine concern is given to the effects on the smokers’ health, although it is common knowledge the habit is addictive, causes cancer and contributes to a number of other illnesses. It is now intended that Australian smokers be heavily fined if found littering the pavement by dropping cigarette butts. I read recently that North Sydney Council has removed litter bins from the streets resulting in there now being no receptacle in which to place the butts. If the fines prove lucrative, as I am sure they will, other Councils will be quick to follow suit and remove their bins. Be warned, voters are well aware this is not solving the litter problem it is only profiting from it and exacerbating it. What has always concerned me, is the smoker’s disgusting habit of stubbing out the cigarette and leaving the butt for others to clean up. Some Councils now encourage smokers to carry an empty film canister with them, in which to store butts. The canisters are highly inflammable and remembering to carry one is a problem. I am constantly surprised that Councils have not banded together worldwide, to take on the Tobacco Industry in a class action to recover costs involved in cleaning up the mess. It is perhaps a last option. Continuing to educate smokers has proved to be a gross waste of money. They simply take no notice. I believe the only way to change their habits is for the Tobacco Industry as a whole, to take the initiative by electing to “Own the Cigarette Butt Problem” and solve it by redesigning the cigarette packet to include a compartment that accepts the butts. Thus the smoker in carrying the packet, automatically also carries an ash tray. To the best of my knowledge, all brands on today’s market except Camel, now use the Flip top Box. What I envisage is a Flip Top Box, identical in shape, size and weight to those in present use. This would ensure the packet still fits the smokers’ pocket or handbag and no modifications would be necessary to the tobacconist’s expensive display shelves. The interior of the box would first appear the same until a cigarette was removed from the packet. The box is normally lined with very thin crimped aluminium foil. I assume this keeps the tobacco fresh and is a fire retardant designed to prevent the packet igniting if a partially consumed cigarette is placed back in the box. The foil could easily be modified slightly by having a pleated section folded and compressed at either side of the inside of the box with a small red cellulose tab sticking up. Surely anyone proficient in origami could design this. When a cigarette was removed from the packet this red tab can be pulled causing a pocket in the foil to unfold, open up a bit and become a receptacle for the first butt. As additional cigarettes were removed the tab could be pulled a little further to increase the size of the "Butt compartment" until such time as all the cigarettes had been consumed and the packet, now full of butts was ready to be discarded, hopefully in a garbage bin, in the street, at home or at work. Beach side suburbs have a unique problem in that the Sand Cleaning Machines in use on the beaches today, don't pick up cigarette butts very well due to them being so small. The machines would not need to be modified, as picking up a "Packet full of butts" would be easier due to it being physically larger. Precedence for modifying the packet has occurred in the past to include health warnings. The Tobacco Industry now needs to be persuaded by, Government, Lobby groups and others, to modify their product to include a compartment for the butts in the design of the packet. Perhaps the rumour of a pending class action would help. The Tobacco Industry's advertising could also educate the smoker that it is, “Cool to use the Butt Compartment” it will modify their habits as a receptacle for the butts would always be readily at hand, inside the packet.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Sep 06
I am a smoker. I always pick my butts up, even if I have to put it back into the pack until I can dispose of them. Littering is gross and not good for the environment and although I realize my bad habit is polluting the air, I am considerate of littering. Also, people picking up butts are paid and smokers are keeping them working, so it's not all bad.