Spain Demands Tobacco Companies Clean Up Cigarette Butts

Spain has instituted new environmental regulations that hold tobacco companies accountable for cleaning up cigarette butts from streets and beaches. Following this logic, dog food manufacturers could be next in line. That would be a much-needed move in cities like Valencia.

Spain has introduced new environmental regulations that will require tobacco companies to clean up cigarette butts from streets and beaches. The move comes in response to the millions of cigarette butts that are discarded in the country each year, releasing toxic plastic waste that can take decades to break down. The new rules, which came into effect on Friday, will also make manufacturers responsible for collecting and transporting discarded cigarette butts for waste treatment.

According to figures from 2020, around 20% of adult Spaniards smoke every day. A report by the Catalan Rezero Foundation estimated that local authorities in Catalonia spend between €12-21 ($13-22) per inhabitant per year on road cleaning of cigarette waste, with higher rates in coastal areas. The report also found that cigarette waste is the “most abundant waste” on the beaches of the western Mediterranean, and that existing measures to address the problem, such as awareness campaigns and portable beach ashtrays, have been insufficient.

Cigarette filters are typically made of cellulose acetate fiber, a type of bioplastic that can take years or even decades to decompose. In addition to being slow to break down, these micro plastics can also negatively impact plant growth, according to scientific research. The new regulations requiring tobacco companies to clean up cigarette butts in Spain are part of a wider law passed in 2020 that prohibited the use of single-use plastics like straws and cutlery, in accordance with an EU directive.

Spain is not the only country to take action on cigarette waste. On Thursday, Ireland introduced similar legislation that will require tobacco companies to contribute to the cost of cleaning up cigarette litter. According to the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System, almost half of litter in Ireland is cigarette-related. In addition to the new regulations on cigarette waste, Spain has also implemented a number of measures to curb smoking in recent years. Last July, for example, smoking was banned on all of Barcelona’s public beaches, with offenders facing fines of €30.

It is not yet clear how the new regulations in Spain will be implemented or whether the costs will be passed on to consumers. The Mesa del Tabaco industry association has said that it is still waiting for details on how the rules will be implemented, according to local media. Regardless of the specifics, however, the new regulations represent an important step in addressing the problem of cigarette waste and its negative impact on the environment.

Spain has introduced new environmental regulations that will require tobacco companies to clean up cigarette butts from streets and beaches. The move comes in response to the millions of cigarette butts that are discarded in the country each year, releasing toxic plastic waste that can take decades to break down. The new rules, which came into effect on Friday, will also make manufacturers responsible for collecting and transporting discarded cigarette butts for waste treatment.

According to figures from 2020, around 20% of adult Spaniards smoke every day. A report by the Catalan Rezero Foundation estimated that local authorities in Catalonia spend between €12-21 ($13-22) per inhabitant per year on road cleaning of cigarette waste, with higher rates in coastal areas. The report also found that cigarette waste is the “most abundant waste” on the beaches of the western Mediterranean, and that existing measures to address the problem, such as awareness campaigns and portable beach ashtrays, have been insufficient.

Cigarette filters are typically made of cellulose acetate fiber, a type of bioplastic that can take years or even decades to decompose. In addition to being slow to break down, these microplastics can also negatively impact plant growth, according to scientific research. The new regulations requiring tobacco companies to clean up cigarette butts in Spain are part of a wider law passed in 2020 that prohibited the use of single-use plastics like straws and cutlery, in accordance with an EU directive.

Spain is not the only country to take action on cigarette waste. On Thursday, Ireland introduced similar legislation that will require tobacco companies to contribute to the cost of cleaning up cigarette litter. According to the National Litter Pollution Monitoring System, almost half of litter in Ireland is cigarette-related. In addition to the new regulations on cigarette waste, Spain has also implemented a number of measures to curb smoking in recent years. Last July, for example, smoking was banned on all of Barcelona’s public beaches, with offenders facing fines of €30.

It is not yet clear how the new regulations in Spain will be implemented or whether the costs will be passed on to consumers. The Mesa del Tabaco industry association has said that it is still waiting for details on how the rules will be implemented, according to local media. Regardless of the specifics, however, the new regulations represent an important step in addressing the problem of cigarette waste and its negative impact on the environment.

The new regulation is strange and, to put it mildly, impossible to enforce. It also raises some serious questions. Are we to expect dog food manufacturers to be the next in line to be held accountable for picking up dog poop from the streets? While this might not keep them busy in cities like Madrid, they would have to work around the clock in Valencia.

© Spain Demands Tobacco Companies Clean Up Cigarette Butts – valencian.es
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