Cigarette butts are the most littered item in Pennsylvania

Cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item along Pennsylvania’s roadways according to the 2020 Pennsylvania Litter Study. Lack of awareness that cigarette butts are a form of litter, lack of ash receptacles and the increase of outdoor smoking adds to the cigarette litter problem across the state.

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce cigarette litter, starting in 2022 Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is partnering with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to implement the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP) by placing cigarette butt receptacles at 14 state welcome centers. This builds upon a partnership since 2010 with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in 41 of the 121 state parks leading to an overall, combined cigarette litter reduction rate of 64%. Both of these efforts were possible with grant funding from Keep America Beautiful.

Cigarette butts collected at the PennDOT welcome centers and state parks are shipped to Terracycle where the various materials that make up a cigarette butt are separated and processed. The filters are melted into hard plastic that can be remolded for various industrial products, such as plastic benches. The residual tobacco and paper are separated out and composted.

To learn more about CLPP, visit Keep America Beautiful's Cigarette Litter Prevention website.

Cigarette receptacle at Presque Isle State Park

Recycled-content bench and educational sign at Prince Gallitzin State Park