Cigarette Butts: Plastic, Toxic, Marine Debris

Posted Thu, 04/19/2012 - 02:12

By: Anna Manyak, Knauss Fellow with the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Prior to the 1960s, littering was commonplace.  For those of us who were not alive during that time and love a good TV show, Mad Men gives us an entertaining glimpse of the everyday practices of this era.  If you’re anything like me, you were probably appalled at the episode where the Draper family leaves their trash from a picnic scattered on the ground, with a receptacle in clear sight.  Our littering standards have come a long way since then.  Today, tossing trash on the street or out a car window is unacceptable and unlawful.  However, despite these great strides in litter control, littering of one item in particular continues to be commonplace: Cigarette butts.