New York Senator Proposes 1 Cent Deposit for Cigarette Butts

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With 17 percent of New York’s adult population smoking, SB560 could put a dent in cigarette butt litter. Photo: Flickr/indi.ca

About 17 percentof New York adults smoke. While that number is about average compared to national standards, one New York state senator thinks that the problem of cigarette butt litter needs to be extinguished.

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (Dem.) has introduced Senate Bill 560, which would create a cigarette butt recycling program, including a 1 cent deposit per cigarette or cigar butt recycled. The bill is set to be voted on during the 2013 legislative session.

Along with the deposit, the bill outlines that each county must have at least one redemption facility and that the recycling program must educate the public on the harm cigarette butts can cause to the environment.

Cigarette filters are comprised of 95 percent cellulose acetate, which is slow to decompose, taking anywhere between 18 months and 10 years to fully break down. With millions of cigarettes smoked a day, cigarette butts aren’t just an unsightly problem, but an environmental risk.

The state currently runs another successful deposit program with its 5 cent deposit beverage container program, which includes glass and plastic bottles, aluminum cans, jars and more.

Read More: Recycling Mystery: Cigarettes

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