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Regulating the disposal of cigarette butts as toxic hazardous waste

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Abstract

The trillions of cigarette butts generated each year throughout the world pose a significant challenge for disposal regulations, primarily because there are millions of points of disposal, along with the necessity to segregate, collect and dispose of the butts in a safe manner, and cigarette butts are toxic, hazardous waste. There are some hazardous waste laws, such as those covering used tyres and automobile batteries, in which the retailer is responsible for the proper disposal of the waste, but most post-consumer waste disposal is the responsibility of the consumer. Concepts such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) are being used for some post-consumer waste to pass the responsibility and cost for recycling or disposal to the manufacturer of the product. In total, 32 states in the US have passed EPR laws covering auto switches, batteries, carpet, cell phones, electronics, fluorescent lighting, mercury thermostats, paint and pesticide containers, and these could be models for cigarette waste legislation. A broader concept of producer stewardship includes EPR, but adds the consumer and the retailer into the regulation. The State of Maine considered a comprehensive product stewardship law in 2010 that is a much better model than EPR. By using either EPR or the Maine model, the tobacco industry will be required to cover the cost of collecting and disposing of cigarette butt waste. Additional requirements included in the Maine model are needed for consumers and businesses to complete the network that will be necessary to maximise the segregation and collection of cigarette butts to protect the environment.
Regulating the disposal of cigarette butts as toxic
hazardous waste
Richard L Barnes
ABSTRACT
The trillions of cigarette butts generated each year
throughout the world pose a significant challenge for
disposal regulations, primarily because there are
millions of points of disposal, along with the necessity
to segregate, collect and dispose of the butts in a safe
manner, and cigarette butts are toxic, hazardous waste.
There are some hazardous waste laws, such as those
covering used tyres and automobile batteries, in which
the retailer is responsible for the proper disposal of the
waste, but most post-consumer waste disposal is the
responsibility of the consumer. Concepts such as
extended producer responsibility (EPR) are being used
for some post-consumer waste to pass the
responsibility and cost for recycling or disposal to the
manufacturer of the product. In total, 32 states in the
US have passed EPR laws covering auto switches,
batteries, carpet, cell phones, electronics, fluorescent
lighting, mercury thermostats, paint and pesticide
containers, and these could be models for
cigarette waste legislation. A broader concept of
producer stewardship includes EPR, but adds the
consumer and the retailer into the regulation. The State
of Maine considered a comprehensive product
stewardship law in 2010 that is a much better model
than EPR. By using either EPR or the Maine model, the
tobaccoindustrywillberequiredtocoverthecostof
collecting and disposing of cigarette butt waste.
Additional requirements included in the Maine model
are needed for consumers and businesses to complete
the network that will be necessary to maximise the
segregation and collection of cigarette butts to protect
the environment.
WHAT MAKES CIGARETTE BUTT WASTE
POLLUTION A DIFFICULT WASTE DISPOSAL
PROBLEM?
To begin to grapple with this issue, one must
appreciate the sheer magnitude of the problem.
More than 5 trillion cigarettes are smoked world-
wide each year, and all of them are disposed of in
some manner.
1
There are literally millions of points
of deposit on the planet. They are dropped on the
ground, tossed in trash bins and carted off to
landlls with little or no thought being given by
the smoker or society at large as to what that
means to the environment. Regardless of how the
butts are disposed of today, each one of them may
pose a toxic hazard to the environment.
Cigarette butts comprise an estimated 30% of
the total litter (by count) along US shorelines,
waterways and on land,
2
and Keep America Beau-
tiful reported that 80% of all marine debris origi-
nates from land-based sources.
3
Typically, discarded
cigarette butts consist of three components:
unsmoked remnant tobacco (including partially
smoked/charred tobacco on the end), the lter of
altered cigarette and a paper wrap. Each of these
components of the discarded cigarette butt presents
its own concerns. About 99% of the manufactured
cigarette market is ltered cigarettes; lters degrade
very slowly and thus become an accumulating
mass of potentially toxic waste. Toxic substances
are leached from the lter and tobacco residue
4
that
pollute waterways,
5
and probably pollute ground
water near landlls that are not properly
constructed to contain such leachates. Aquatic life
may be harmed by the toxic leachates,
16
and the
butts may cause physical harm when ingested by
animals.
17
Butts collect in municipal storm drains
and then may empty into waterways,
1
and can clog
storm drains and sanitary sewer systems.
8
Some attempts have been made to change
smokers behaviour towards cigarette butt deposi-
tion by enforcing existing anti-littering laws. In
addition, some communities have imposed ciga-
rette butt abatement fees on each pack of ciga-
rettes.
1
In San Francisco in 2009, a US$0.20 fee was
added to the price of cigarettes sold in the city,
9
providing an economic disincentive towards
tobacco product purchases. However, this fee is in
abeyance pending litigation
10
brought by the
tobacco industry. If implemented, the fee would
also support a public education campaign directed
towards reducing butt waste, as well as recouping
the costs to the city of butt clean-up.
1910
Anti-
littering laws are not vigorously enforced regarding
cigarette butt waste in most jurisdictions, but these
may reduce the number of cigarette butts dropped
on the ground. Nevertheless, these regulatory
efforts are miniscule when compared with the
scope of the problem.
Unlike a number of consumer products, there is
no known value in recycling cigarette butts, though
a number of new proprietary efforts have been
publicised.
11e13
Destruction of the butts through
combustion
14
is a possibility, if the airborne
components of combustion are not hazardous and
the combustion residue could be disposed of safely.
There is also the issue of who pays for the disposal.
Incineration does not recover anything of value,
where boiler and industrial furnace disposal does
create energy and may recover some material.
Tobacco contains trace amount of several heavy
metals, but it is unlikely that any material recovery
would be economically viable. Assuming that any
of these reuse and disposal methods are efcacious,
there is no known current process for segregating
and collecting butts for reuse or disposal anywhere
in the world.
Center for Tobacco Control
Research and Education,
University of California, San
Francisco, Dan Francisco,
California, USA
Correspondence to
Richard L Barnes, Center for
Tobacco Control Research and
Education, University of
California, San Francisco, 530
Parnassus Ave, Suite 366 San
Francisco, CA 94143-1390;
USA; richard.barnes@ucsf.edu
Received 12 November 2010
Accepted 23 February 2011
This paper is freely available
online under the BMJ Journals
unlocked scheme, see http://
tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/site/
about/unlocked.xhtml
Tobacco Control 2011;20(Suppl 1):i45ei48. doi:10.1136/tc.2010.041301 i45
Research paper
HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL MODELS
One must consider how other post-consumer hazardous waste
is segregated and collected may serve as a model for cigarette
butt waste. Tyres and lead-acid batteries are two examples of
post-consumer waste collection that generally have been
acceptable to consumers. When new tyres
15
or a new automo-
bile battery
16
are purchased, the retailer takes responsibility for
disposing of the used product under US government guidelines
and state laws. Most other post-consumer hazardous waste
disposal regulation relies on the consumer to dispose of it safely
and properly, and many states have laws regulating the disposal
of some of these products, such as ashlight batteries, compact
uorescent light (CFL) xtures and paint.
17 18
We know that
tobacco contains thousands of different and potentially
hazardous compounds
119
and that cigarette butts in water leach
a variety of toxic wastes, including heavy metals, nicotine and
ethyl phenol.
6
However, we have very limited knowledge on the actual toxic
impact of these compounds in the environment.
20
By applying
the precautionary principle to the issue of cigarette butt waste,
it is not necessary to have identied each and every toxic
compound in cigarette butt leachate before we undertake to
regulate and control it. The precautionary principle holds that
when an activity raises threats to human health or the envi-
ronment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some
cause and effect relationships are not fully established scienti-
cally, shifting the burden of proof to the proponent of the
activity,
21
and has been embodied in laws and in international
treaties.
22
A PRODUCT STEWARDSHIP APPROACH
Product stewardship started in the USA
23 24
as an effort to shift
the responsibility and the cost of protecting the environment
from taxpayers to the manufacturer, retailer and consumer for
products put in the stream of commerce: The greater the ability
of a party to inuence the life cycle impacts of a product, the
greater the degree of that partys responsibility. The stakeholders
typically include manufacturers, retailers, consumers and
government ofcials.
23
This movement has gone global.
25
Part
of the process is to encourage manufacturers to make products
that are not harmful to the environment, which in the case of
cigarettes is not possible unless the tobacco and possibly the
lter is removed from them, given the evidence accumulating on
the hazardous content of discarded cigarette butts.
A related, but different, approach is the extended producer
responsibility (EPR) concept, which places the onus of waste
management for end-of-life products on the manufacturer, while
product stewardship adds retailers and consumers into the
process. EPR began to be implemented in Europe in the early
1990s, and was incorporated into European Union environ-
mental policy in 2002; to date it has not been considered at the
federal level in the US.
26
In the US, as of October 2010 a total of 32 states have enacted
EPR laws that require manufacturers to nance the costs of
recycling or safe disposal of their consumer products, covering
a range of products including auto switches, batteries, carpet,
cell phones, electronics, uorescent lighting, mercury-containing
thermostats, paint and pesticide containers.
27
Most of this
legislation is of recent origin, but it may be another model of
regulations that could be adapted to cigarette butt waste.
EPR in Europe has not been perfectly implemented and may
not be suited to the US.
24 26
EPR laws enacted in US states have
each dealt with a specic product,
27
thus avoiding some of the
issues found in Europe regarding a singular regulatory scheme
being applied to a wide array of products with an overall goal of
encouraging manufacturers to make design changes. The EU has
not been as successful in meeting this goal on a large range of
products, requiring direct design mandates such as materials
standards and bans on use of certain chemicals.
26
In the case of
tobacco products, changing the product design to completely
eliminate environmental hazards is not practicable. However,
some have advocated the possibility of removing the lter from
cigarettes in order to at least improve biodegradability of smoked
cigarettes.
1
This would not, however, eliminate hazardous
leachates from butts containing only tobacco remnants.
In 2010, the State of Maine considered a bill to enact
a comprehensive product stewardship law
28
that would avoid
the EPR problems experienced in Europe. Under the proposed
law, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection would
designate what products or product categories sold in Maine
would be required to participate in a product stewardship
program, nanced and either managed or provided by producers
of a designated product. No designated product could be sold or
offered for sale in Maine by any producer, wholesaler, retailer, or
other person unless the producer participated in a product
stewardship program. The producer would pay all administrative
and operational costs of the program, including the costs of
collection, transportation and recycling or disposal, or both, of all
products covered by the program. The proposed statute would
prohibit charging the consumer a fee for taking or collecting the
unwanted product, and require the producers to provide an
education and outreach program to promote use of the program
by consumers. The Department could also establish producer
fees to fully recover its expenses in administering the law.
A producer or stewardship organization that operates a stew-
ardship program on behalf of a producer or group of producers
would have to submit a plan for approval by the Department of
Environmental Protection that included a description of the
collection, transportation, handling, processing, or disposal
systems. In addition, the plan would have to explain how the
collected waste would be reused or recycled or how it would be
disposed of if the Department determined that the waste was
not reusable or recyclable. The plan would also have to describe
the education and outreach to be used, and it would have to
provide information relating to consultation about the plan
with stakeholders including consumers, environmental groups
and retailers. Any subsequent revisions to the plan would have
to be approved by the Department, and detailed annual
reporting to the Department of plan operations would be
required. Failure to submit a product stewardship plan, revisions,
or annual report would have resulted in a ne of up to US
$10 000 a day. Although not spelled out in the proposed statute,
a producer, wholesaler, retailer, or other person selling or offering
for sale a designated product for which the producer was not
participating in a product stewardship program would be
subject to an injunction to prohibit such sale or offer for sale.
The Maine legislature amended the original bill only to require
the Department of Environmental Protection to propose
a product stewardship law in 2011. Despite this delay, the
proposed Maine product stewardship law offers a very good
framework for laws applying to cigarette butt waste; however,
existing state EPR laws are not as comprehensive as the product
stewardship law proposed in Maine.
Because of the unique disposal issues surrounding cigarette
butt waste disposal, any regulatory approach to such waste
should include extensive consumer education about the envi-
ronmental hazards of the tobacco product waste, and enhanced
i46 Tobacco Control 2011;20(Suppl 1):i45ei48. doi:10.1136/tc.2010.041301
Research paper
and better enforced penalties for improper disposal. The Cali-
fornia litter law
29
specically designates cigarette butts as litter,
imposes a ne of US$250e1000 for their improper disposal and
provides a reward of 50% of the ne to a person giving infor-
mation leading to the arrest and conviction of a person littering
cigarette butts or any other waste. The minimum ne can only
be waived in unusual circumstances, and the court may also
require the convicted person to pick up environmental litter for
no less than 12 h as a further punitive measure.
In the absence of an EPR law or a product stewardship law
such as that proposed in Maine, a more limited approach using
several components of EPR or product stewardship could be
adopted. Businesses could be required to place dedicated recep-
tacles, as is often done with trash and recycling bins, for ciga-
rette butts outside businesses where smokers congregate.
Further, they could be required to collect all butts discarded on
the ground rather than simply sweeping them into the street
where they may then be washed into storm drains and subse-
quently into aquatic environments. All outdoor public areas
should have adequate numbers of dedicated receptacles, or
smoking should be prohibited in all outdoor public areas. To
reduce the landll burden of cigarette butt waste, households
and businesses in which cigarette butt waste is generated could
be required to collect all butts in special containers for collection
by waste collection services so as not to mix toxic cigarette butt
waste with other waste. Government waste collection agencies
could be required to adopt measures to safely dispose of cigarette
butt waste, including sending them back to the cigarette
manufacturer for destruction or recycling, or to establish
manufacturer fees to cover all of the mitigation costs created by
every pack of cigarettes sold in the jurisdiction. A Maine-style
product stewardship law would be far superior, as all of the costs
would be borne by the cigarette manufacturer.
Many states and communities have passed laws and ordi-
nances prohibiting smoking in parks and on beaches for public
health and environmental reasons. Maine has prohibited
smoking in all state parks and on state beaches; Puerto Rico
along with a large number of US municipalities have prohibited
smoking in parks,
30
and many municipalities have prohibited
smoking on beaches.
31
In 2010, the New York City Council,
supported by Mayor Bloomberg, proposed a total ban on
smoking in all public parks, beaches and walkways.
32
A law
banning smoking in all state parks and beaches in California
passed both legislative bodies,
33
but was vetoed
34
by then-
Governor Schwarzenegger as an improper intrusion of govern-
ment into peoples lives. Notably, the Governor stated: As we
have seen, marine debris and litter know no boundaries. I believe
a more appropriate response is to increase the nes and penalties
already in law for littering in our parks and on our beaches.
There is likely to be further attention paid to cigarette butt
waste as additional economic analyses are available regarding
clean-up costs as well as indirect losses from environmental
degradation, impacts on tourism and the public nuisance costs
created by cigarette butt waste.
THE PLUSES AND MINUSES OF THE OPTIONS
The current single-product EPR laws in the US principal weak-
ness is that they rely very heavily on consumersvoluntary
compliance with proper disposal protocols, except where they
exchange an end-of-life product with a retailer for a replacement
product, such as automobile tyres and batteries, making effec-
tiveness uncertain and largely unascertainable. Another weak-
ness is that most such laws are essentially unenforceable with
regard to consumer compliance. With EPR, the producer pays
some or most of the cost of collecting and recycling end-of-life
goods voluntarily delivered by the consumer to a collection
point, usually provided by the local government. The local or
state government is often responsible for consumer education, if
any is undertaken.
In comparison, a Maine-style product stewardship law is very
comprehensive and places all of the costs, administration and
consumer education on the producer. In order to sell its product,
the producer must le a plan to accomplish this and it must be
approved by a governmental agency. The law would create
a collaborative environment involving the producer, the
government, consumers, environmental groups and other
stakeholders. The environmental groups would ll a watchdog
role. The challenge with this approach is in generating the
political will of policymakers to adopt it.
In this Tobacco Control supplement, Smith and Novotny
describe the tobacco industrys studies of smoker attitudes
about cigarette butts, and those attitudes are substantial barriers
to smoker voluntary compliance with any butt disposal
protocol. Thus, vigorous enforcement of littering laws will likely
be required early in the program until they change those atti-
tudinal barriers.
Smith and Novotny also report on the efforts of the tobacco
industry to modify smoker behaviour concerning cigarette butt
disposal out of its fear of government regulation of butt disposal.
The efforts failed, largely because the tobacco industry did not
want to offend smokers. Traditional anti-littering campaigns
have clearly not had much, if any, effect on smoker behaviour.
Education of smokers about the environmental impact of their
butt disposal habits may have some effect, along with the threat
of littering nes. Because of the complex nature of smokers
behaviour regarding cigarette butts, further research on effective
messaging is needed.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The best solution to the cigarette butt waste problem is for
smokers to quit, whether for reasons of their own health, the
health of others, or the health of the environment where more
than 5 trillion cigarette butts are deposited each year. At
a minimum, however, the economic and administrative burdens
of cigarette butt waste should be taken off state and local
government agencies and taxpayers, and, following the princi-
ples of product stewardship and extended product responsibility,
tobacco manufacturers should shoulder the entire nancial
burden for the collection, transportation and safe disposal of
cigarette butt waste. The next best solution is to adopt
a comprehensive Maine-style product stewardship law covering
cigarette butt waste.
Acknowledgements The author thanks Dr Thomas E Novotny, San Diego State
University, San Diego, California, for his assistance in reviewing the manuscript.
Funding This work was funded by the University of California Tobacco-Related
Disease Research Program IDEA grant no. 17T-0014.
Competing interests None.
Contributors RLB was responsible for this work.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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Research paper
... CBs are poorly degradable and take around 720 days to decompose under grassland conditions (Qamar et al., 2020). Moreover, some people treat CBs as toxic (Novotny et al., 2009) and hazardous waste due to its slow decomposition and accumulation of many toxic substances (Barnes, 2011). However, in most countries, CBs management consists of placing them with the mixed fraction in landfills, while in other countries they are incinerated and cause air pollution with toxic fumes . ...
... Studies show that 76-84% of smokers throw CBs into the environment instead of the trash, resulting in more than 4.5 trillion CBs being thrown into the environment each year (Araújo & Costa, 2019; Barnes, 2011). Kurmus & Mohajerani (2020) estimated that one in three CBs ends up in the environment. ...
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Fresh tobacco or the smoke resulting from waterpipe and cigarette contains large amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which consumption can cause releasing of these contaminants into the indoor air of cigarette and waterpipe cafés. This study was conducted to investigate the urinary concentrations of unmetabolized PAH compounds among the employed workers as well as the customers in waterpipe and cigarette cafés along with its association with oxidative stress factors plus kidney injury biomarkers. For this, 35 staffs and 35 customers in these cafés (as an exposed group (EG)), 20 staffs in non-smoking cafés (as 1st control group (CG-1)), and 20 of the public population (as 2nd control group 2 (CG-2)) were chosen and their urine specimens were collected. The results indicated that there is a significant difference between urinary concentration of ƩPAHs in the exposed and control groups (P value < 0.05). Also, “type of tobacco” can be considered as an influential and determining factor for the urinary levels of PAHs among the subjects. Considering the contribution of PAHs to the total toxic equivalents, benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (DahA), and fluoranthene (Flrt) with 32.76%, 27.62%, and 18.65% claimed the largest share in waterpipe/cigarette cafés. The results also indicated a positive and significant relationship between some PAHs and oxidative stress biomarkers as well as uKIM-1 (biomarker for assessing and diagnosing glomerular damage) and TIMP-1 (biomarker of stress in primary steps of injury in tubular cell). Thus, it can be expressed that the workers of these smoking cafés are prone to the detrimental health impacts. Accordingly, proper policies and decisions should be taken to limit the activity of these cafés or proper protective strategies should be adopted to protect the health of exposed individuals.
... More than 5,000 compounds (from tobacco and added substances) can be found in a cigarette, of which at least 150 are recognized as highly toxic due to their carcinogenic and mutagenic potential (Shen et al. 2021;Moriwaki et al. 2009;Hoffmann 1997, 1998;Slaughter et al. 2011). The compounds with the greatest toxic potential are concentrated mainly in the remains of the tobacco and in the filters (Slaughter et al. 2011;Barnes 2011). The substances that make cigarettes potentially dangerous for smokers (active and passive) and have the potential to cause environmental damage are incorporated throughout the product life cycle, from tobacco planting to the completion of the cigarettes for sale (Hoffmann and Hoffmann 1998;Sheets 1991;Araújo and Costa 2019b). ...
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Cigarette butts (CBs) are non-biodegradable residues of synthetic origin, prevalent on beaches all over the world. The study evaluates discarded CBs on an intensely used urban beach, determining variations in physical and chemical characteristics. CBs collected were observed, classified, and visually separated according to a proposed scale of four levels of degradation to test the potential match between physical and chemical decay. CBs (un-smoked, smoked, and discarded) were used to determine the average length (cm) and mass (g) in order to observe changes in these parameters among the levels. Cigarette butts experience consecutive mass loss during environmental exposure. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images were obtained to assess physical changes in fibers due to smoking. FTIR-ATR was used to assess CBs new (un-smoked), smoked, and discarded samples in relation to cellulose acetate decay. The FTIR-ATR spectroscopy of the most visually degraded cigarette butts indicated modifications in the spectra when compared to un-smoked cigarettes.
... Non-biodegradable cigarette filters-the cigarette butts-accumulate to become toxic waste and the toxic substances within cigarettes contaminate soil, pollute the waterways, and harm aquatic wildlife (Novotny and Slaughter, 2014;Barnes, 2011;Roder Green et al., 2014). Tobacco butt litter also presents a public health threat to both humans (especially young children) and animals via accidental consumption (Novotny et al., 2011). ...
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... Cigarettes contain more than 5000 different chemical compounds [Araújo and Costa, 2019]; 150 of these additives are considered highly toxic, primarily because of their carcinogenic and mutagenic potential [Slaughter et al., 2011]. After cigarettes are burned and smoked, the compounds with the most significant toxicity are primarily concentrated in tobacco residues and filter cigarettes butts [Barnes, 2011;Slaughter et al., 2011]. ...
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Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter, as an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are thrown away every year worldwide. Many chemical products are used during the course of growing tobacco and manufacturing cigarettes, the residues of which may be found in cigarettes prepared for consumption. Additionally, over 4000 chemicals may also be introduced to the environment via cigarette particulate matter (tar) and mainstream smoke. Using US Environmental Protection Agency standard acute fish bioassays, cigarette butt-derived leachate was analysed for aquatic toxicity. Survival was the single endpoint and data were analysed using Comprehensive Environmental Toxicity Information System to identify the LC50 of cigarette butt leachate to fish. The LC50 for leachate from smoked cigarette butts (smoked filter + tobacco) was approximately one cigarette butt/l for both the marine topsmelt (Atherinops affinis) and the freshwater fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas). Leachate from smoked cigarette filters (no tobacco), was less toxic, with LC50 values of 1.8 and 4.3 cigarette butts/l, respectively for both fish species. Unsmoked cigarette filters (no tobacco) were also found to be toxic, with LC50 values of 5.1 and 13.5 cigarette butts/l, respectively, for both fish species. Toxicity of cigarette butt leachate was found to increase from unsmoked cigarette filters (no tobacco) to smoked cigarette filters (no tobacco) to smoked cigarette butts (smoked filter + tobacco). This study represents the first in the literature to investigate and affirm the toxicity of cigarette butts to fish, and will assist in assessing the potential ecological risks of cigarette butts to the aquatic environment.
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Discarded cigarette butts are a form of non-biodegradable litter. Carried as runoff from streets to drains, to rivers, and ultimately to the ocean and its beaches, cigarette filters are the single most collected item in international beach cleanups each year. They are an environmental blight on streets, sidewalks, and other open areas. Rather than being a protective health device, cigarette filters are primarily a marketing tool to help sell 'safe' cigarettes. They are perceived by much of the public (especially current smokers) to reduce the health risks of smoking through technology. Filters have reduced the machine-measured yield of tar and nicotine from burning cigarettes, but there is controversy as to whether this has correspondingly reduced the disease burden of smoking to the population. Filters actually may serve to sustain smoking by making it seem less urgent for smokers to quit and easier for children to initiate smoking because of reduced irritation from early experimentation. Several options are available to reduce the environmental impact of cigarette butt waste, including developing biodegradable filters, increasing fines and penalties for littering butts, monetary deposits on filters, increasing availability of butt receptacles, and expanded public education. It may even be possible to ban the sale of filtered cigarettes altogether on the basis of their adverse environmental impact. This option may be attractive in coastal regions where beaches accumulate butt waste and where smoking indoors is increasingly prohibited. Additional research is needed on the various policy options, including behavioral research on the impact of banning the sale of filtered cigarettes altogether.
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This Article examines how governments in the world's two largest economies are diverging in their approaches to regulating hazardous products and packaging, with major ramifications for manufacturing, waste management, and trade. The European Union is implementing product-oriented environmental regulation based on the principle of Extended Producer Responsibility ("EPR"), which assigns responsibility to manufacturers to take back their products after consumers discard them. In theory, EPR could dramatically alter production practices by internalizing externalities from products and providing incentives for environmentally friendly design. However, practical problems of implementation raise questions about the effectiveness of EPR as a policy tool. This Article explores the European experience with EPR, the reasons for apparent resistance to EPR in the United States, and the implications of a move toward product-oriented environmental law. It critiques EPR on the grounds that the transaction costs of EPR may outweigh its environmental benefits and that practical problems of implementation may preclude the achievement of expected product design incentives. Given the substantial cost and technical hurdles to establishing the legal underpinnings of EPR programs, this Article recommends that the United States consider alternative policy instruments to address environmental externalities from products.
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The presence of psychoactive stimulatory drugs in raw waters used for drinking water production and in finished drinking water was evaluated in a Spanish drinking water treatment plant (DWTP). Contamination of the river basin which provides raw water to this DWTP was also studied. In surface waters, illicit drugs such as cocaine, benzoylecgonine (cocaine metabolite), amphetamine, methamphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy), and MDA were detected at mean concentrations ranging from 4 to 350 ng/L. Nicotine, caffeine, and their metabolites were also found at the microg/L level. The elimination of these compounds during drinking water treatment was investigated in a real waterworks. Amphetamine-type stimulants (except MDMA) were completely removed during prechlorination, flocculation, and sand filtration steps, yielding concentrations lowerthan their limits of detection (LODs). Further, ozone treatment was shown to be effective in partially eliminating caffeine (76%), while subsequent granulated activated carbon (GAC) filtration removed cocaine (100%), MDMA(88%), benzoylecgonine (72%), and cotinine (63%). Postchlorination achieved the complete elimination of cocaine and nicotine and only one parent compound (caffeine) and two metabolites (cotinine and benzoylecgonine) persisted throughout treatment although reductions of 90% for caffeine and benzoylecgonine and 74% for cotinine were obtained.