This photo of a trash vault was shared with us, by the Engineer Manager for Denver's Waste Water, as a representation of about a week's worth of debris collected from stormwater runoff in a major part of the city which includes busy Colfax Ave, between Josephine and Monaco Street.

No más colillas en el suelo

Translating directly to 'No More Butts on the Ground,' this movement is worldwide and aims to raise awareness to the environmental impact of butts, while asking city councils for legislative action, and taking on the problem with a community of boots on the ground eco-warriors. Follow what they're up to here.

Learn more about the duo behind the collection of 8,818.5 pounds of waste in one and a half years!

Check out Taylor Lane's award winning Surfboard in action!

Enjoy a time lapse showcasing the power of fungi in action!

Have you seen Lady GaGa in her fiery, hot "Butt" Sunglasses?



  • The cigarette butts, and affiliated waste, can be freely shipped to TerraCycle where the ash, tobacco, and paper are composted and the filter is recycled into plastic pellets used for industrial materials including park benches and ash trays. A dollar is donated to Keep America Beautiful's Cigarette Litter Prevention Program for each pound they process. Learn More


  • A five year study, conducted in Australia, found that you can encapsulate butts, with paraffin wax and bitumin, to prevent any chemicals from seeping out as it is used in asphalt mix to create a porous pavement material capable of handling heavy traffic, while reducing the Urban Heat Island Effect. Learn More


  • Butts to Watts is a program, shared by Butts Only Box inventor Ken Beckstead, that produces 500 watts of energy per pound of butts. The San Jose airport collected 381,000 butts, in three months, which is enough waste to charge 11,200 cellphones for an hour. Learn More

  • In August of 2014, South Korean Scientists shared their findings that demonstrated the capability of used cigarette butts to be used to store energy in supercapacitors. A supercapacitor stores energy in electrical charges rather than chemical reactions, like a battery, but charges faster and is capable of higher energy speeds. Butts are converted to a carbon based material, by heating them in the presence of Nitrogen in a process called pyrolysis, which they found worked better than commercially available materials. Learn More


  • Believe it or not, mushrooms can be trained to eat the cigarette waste, potentially digesting the harmful chemicals inside. Fungi use digestive enzymes to break down cellulose into simple sugars, which are then metabolized by the fungus. As the cellulose acetate that comprises cigarette filters is nothing more than a modified form of plant cellulose, it turns out that some fungi can break down this industrial plastic waste product. Learn More


  • Just last year, Taylor Lane made a surfboard out of 17 pounds of cigarette butts, collected from California beaches, and won the Vissla and SurfRider's Creators & Innovators Upcycle Contest. With the help of Ben Judkins the team is creating a film to inspire, educate and share creative solutions with the international surfing community. Learn More

  • In Brussels, 240,000 cigarette butts were picked up by 220 volunteers in just 3 hours this past April and they plan to host another collection day April 20th, 2019. Learn More

  • Photographer, Jason Alexander, is on a mission to pick up one million cigarette butts. In his first hour of his self set challenge he picked up 1,789 butts in a busy parking lot. Follow him on Instagram @RubbishWalks or by following #1millionBUTTS Learn More

  • In China, researchers have found that the extract derived from soaking used cigarette butts in water can reduce rust on steel by 90%. Another study done in China and Saudi Arabia found that you could use cigarette ash, coated in aluminum oxide, as a filter for ground water. Learn More

  • In India, entrepreneurs are collecting butts to convert into organic manure, packing and building materials, and plastic used in keychains and toys. Learn More

  • There's even an urban species of finch that uses improperly disposed butts to line their nest as a form of fumigation against mites and ticks. Though keeping the bugs away increases the survival chances of the chick, birds exposed to large amounts of butts are at greater risk of chromosomal abnormalities, which can have adverse effects as they grow older. Learn More

Here's the stinkin' down low:

  • According to Keep America Beautiful (KAB), Americans are smoking fewer cigarettes than ever before, yet cigarette butts continue to be the most commonly littered item in the United States and around the world today.

  • 77 percent of people in a survey by KAB responded that they didn't think of cigarette butts as litter.

  • For every public cigarette butt receptacle, cigarette litter drops by 9 percent in that area.

  • Depending on the conditions of the area the cigarette butt is discarded in, it can take 18 months to 10 years for a cigarette filter to decompose.

  • The core of most cigarette filters, the part that looks like white cotton, is actually a form of plastic called cellulose acetate.

  • Cellulose acetate fibers in a cigarette filter are thinner than sewing thread and a single filter contains more than 12,000 of these fibers.

  • Toxin-filled cigarette butts work their way into our waterways primarily through storm drains that dump into streams and lakes. Studies conducted by Clean Virginia Waterways have shown that just one cigarette butt in approximately two gallons of water is lethal to water fleas, a tiny crustacean found in freshwater and saltwater.

  • Five trillion cigarette filters weigh approximately 2 billion pounds.

  • Worldwide, approximately 10 million cigarettes are purchased a minute, 15 billion are sold each day, and upwards of 5 trillion are produced and used on an annual basis.

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