Many people who smoke may be unaware of the fact that cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a bioplastic made from wood cellulose. Although cellulose acetate is fully biodegradable, it can take up to 12 years for a cigarette butt to biodegrade, depending on the surrounding environment. Cellulose acetate and therefore cigarette butts do not meet biodegradability standards which require biodegradability within only a few months’ time.
For this reason, it is important to dispose of cigarette butts in a responsible manner by fully extinguishing the cigarette and placing it in a waste bin. At no time should a cigarette butt be dropped on the ground with the assumption that it will quickly biodegrade.