According to the new environmental regulations that came into effect on January 6, tobacco companies will now be required to pay to clean up the hundreds of cigarette ends that consumers throw away each year. The regulations also include bans on cotton buds, single-use plastic cutlery, plastic straws, expanded polystyrene cups, and limiting plastic food packaging. These regulations are part of a European Union-wide drive to reduce waste and promote recycling.
It has also been mandatory for cigarette manufacturers to remind and educate consumers to not throw away butts in public areas. According to the Independent, a study has suggested that the total bill for tobacco companies could top 1 billion euros; however, the actual cost of clean-ups has yet to be revealed.
The new rules are part of a law passed last year which banned single-use plastics like straws and cutlery – drawn up to comply with a European Union directive. Ireland introduced similar legislation on Thursday, January 5, requiring tobacco companies to contribute to the cost of cigarette litter. According to the country’s National Litter Pollution Monitoring System, almost half of the waste in Ireland is cigarette-related.