Double Trouble Towards Sustainability


The educational setting tends to save space in the curriculum to educate students that “drugs and alcohol are bad” as well as the “Go Green” platform. However, it’s important to address on the issue how not cigarette smoking pollutes the air, but also goes to waste; it results in a lot of waste. Since urban areas have a higher population density, these areas recollect even more waste. According to the company, Eversmoke, “The U.S. alone spends an estimated $11.5 billion per year on cleaning up litter, and cigarette butts make up 38% of the litter worldwide, making it the single most littered item in the world…it takes nearly 2,000 cigarette butts to equal 1 pound, over 2 billion pounds of butts are discarded annually.”

In order to relieve bodies of water, city streets, and even university campuses from becoming dumping grounds for cigarette butts wastes, holding continual educational/cleanup campaigns on cigarette butts and how cigarettes affect the environment resulting in negative impacts on public health. Groups such as the Chicago Department of Public Health have an educational campaign that “includes a social media toolkit for community and tobacco prevention organizations to help increase awareness about the known dangers [of smoking].” Whereas, a local student organization at UIC called “Let’s Kick Butts” organize cigarette cleanup campaigns in order to spread awareness of the amount of waste that cigarette butts take up within the UIC community. Groups such as the Chicago Department of Public Health and university student groups help impact city communities on different scales.

In regards to sustainability, promoting awareness and cleaning up after others can help decrease the footprint from which people’s habits have made marks into the environment. According to the UIC Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Report, “Reducing waste generation also reduces the flow of waste to incinerators and landfills which produce greenhouse gas emissions, can contaminate air and groundwater supplies, and tend to have disproportionate negative impacts on low-income communities (19). So, even though cigarette butts seem small as if they can disappear from one’s hands. The amount of cigarette butts out there is real and promoting greener habits to those who are willing to give up unstainable habits will result tremendously.



“Electric Cigarettes and the Environmental Footprint.” Electric Cigarettes and the Environment. E-cigarette Knowledge Center. Eversmoke Electronic Cigarettes, 2016. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.


Sustainability Tracking,Assessment and Rating System (STARS) Report Prepared by the Offi- ce of Sustainability,University of Illinois at ChicagoJanuary 2015
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) 2014

“Tobacco Prevention.” City of Chicago ::. Healthy Chicago: Department of Public Health, 2016. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.   <;


3 thoughts on “Double Trouble Towards Sustainability

  1. This was a great post. I always heard of the negative affects of cigarette smoke and second hand smoking, but never realized how these cigarette butts can be. Pretty alarming to see smokers constantly flicking their cigarette butts on the ground without putting much thought into it. According to, cigarette butts take up to 25 years to decompose and all those toxins add up.


  2. This is an interesting topic as it relates to public health. I never thought about how much waste is produced by cigarette butts. I know that a concerted effort has been made to move smokers out of public places, but there has to be more that can be done with manufacturers and consumers to reduce waste. Maybe different products can be used, or some policy to address cigarette waste.


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