Reduce Tobacco Waste in Your Community with this New Policy

Reduce Tobacco Waste in Your Community with this New Policy

February 1, 2016

In 2011, Americans consumed approximately 292.8 billion cigarettes, which resulted in an estimated 110 million pounds of waste. Unfortunately, much of this tobacco waste – filters and cigarette butts, for instance – ends up on streets, in parks, on beaches, and in other public places. Not only is tobacco litter unsightly, it can pollute water supplies and be poisonous to children, pets, and wildlife.

Localities have taken several different approaches to reducing the impact of tobacco waste, such as enforcing existing littering laws, posting signage discouraging littering, providing ash cans, imposing a fee on cigarettes to offset cleanup costs, and conducting periodic cleanups.

Yet tobacco waste remains a pervasive problem. We’ve developed the Tobacco Litter Control Ordinance to help communities address the problem of tobacco waste littered in public spaces.

This ordinance allows a city or county to shift the burden of tobacco waste cleanup to the tobacco industry. It makes it illegal for tobacco products to be sold in a jurisdiction unless the manufacturer or distributor of those products takes responsibility for the collection and disposal of tobacco waste. The ordinance requires the manufacturer or distributor to set up a tobacco control litter program or pay an in-lieu fee. This resource provides relevant findings and policy language for California cities and counties, but the framework could be applicable to communities nationwide.

Contact us for more information, and check out all our tobacco control model policies.