Tobacco companies could be forced to pay for the litter created by cigarettes, the Government has announced.
According to Keep Britain Tidy, smoking related litter is the most prevalent form of litter in England, making up 68% of all littered items and found on around 80% of surveyed sites.
Cleaning up littered cigarette butts currently costs UK local authorities around £40m per year.
Ministers are considering making the tobacco industry pay for the full disposal costs of tobacco waste products through a regulatory extended producer responsibility scheme for cigarette butts in England. This is a new power currently being legislated for in the Environment Bill.
‘Cigarette butts are a blight on our communities, littering our streets or ending up washed down the drain and polluting our rivers and oceans,’ said environment minister Rebecca Pow.
‘We must all take action to protect our environment. We are committed to making sure that the tobacco industry plays its part.
‘That is why we are exploring how cigarette companies can be held fully accountable for the unsightly scourge of litter created by their products.’