Cigarette butts are the most common form of anthropogenic (man-made) litter in the world, as approximately 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked every year worldwide. Of those it is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts become litter every year. The cellulose acetate fibers used as the predominant filter material do not readily biodegrade because of the acetyl groups on the cellulose backbone which in itself can quickly be degraded by various microorganisms employing cellulases. A normal life span of a discarded filter is thought to be up to 15 years.
Luckily a company in South Africa are busy launching a world first cigarette (and packaging) which is 100% biodegradable.
Besides having zero artificial additives and being 100% natural, Woodland Craft Cigarettes also happen to have biodegradable filters made from wooden sponge. They will be completely dissolved – naturally – in about three months.