Annelore van der Lint
Cigarette butts are rarely mentionned in the discussion around plastic pollution, but it is one of the most common form of pollution
Plastic Peuk Meuk gets litter butts on political agenda
Early December 2020, the Plastic Meuk Collectief (Plastic Cigarette Collective) sent a letter about litter butts to the members of the governments circular economy committee. Before the debate, we addressed some of the committee members. SP delegate Cem Laçin committed to address the issue during the debate and ask the secretary of state to draft a plan, to talk to producers, to look at a ban on plastic filters and to look for plastic-free alternatives. And he kept his promise.
The September 2020 Plastic Cigarette Butt action was organized on 5 September 2010 in 18 cities and municipalities. Altogether, volunteers across the country picked up 142,000 cigarette butts from streets across the Netherlands this weekend to highlight the contribution they make to plastic pollution. The message #nofilterplease was spelled with cigarette butts on the Dam Square in Amsterdam.
The campaign calls on the government to ban cigarette butts that contain plastic and other harmful chemicals, and to encourage the tobacco industry to take responsibility for preventing cigarette-related litter. ‘Cigarette butts are hardly ever talked about in the discussion around plastic pollution, even though this is one of the most common forms,’ says Karl Beerenfenger from By the Ocean we Unite, one of the initiators of the PlasticPeukMeuk collective.
‘Communication campaigns do not solve the issue. We must change the product itself. Cigarette filters only serve as a marketing tool to sell more cigarettes. We want to get rid of the plastic cigarette filter altogether,’ Beerenfenger said. Article 8 of the European Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) specifies that tobacco producers are required to pay for ridding the streets of cigarette butts containing plastic filters, and the campaigners want the government to set a target of a 70% reduction in cigarette end pollution by 2023. ‘We are asking the Dutch government to monitor the number of cigarettes, and to ensure a fixed price per butt, to make sure that the producers are motivated to take action,’ said Rob Buurman, director of Recycling Netwerk Benelux.
Sep - Dec 2020
The September 2020 Plastic Cigarette Butt action was organized on 5 September 2010 in 18 cities and municipalities. A follow up campaign will be organized in Fall 2021.