Cigarette butts most common type of litter, survey shows

‘Smokers need to make every effort to dispose of cigarette butts,’ says Minister for the Environment

Cigarette butts and packets remain the most common type of litter found on Irish streets, according to the Department of the Environment’s annual litter survey.

The 2014 National Litter Pollution Report found that “ cigarette-related litter” accounted for almost 55 per cent of litter, with butts constituting more than half of all litter items found on the street.

The survey, carried out by Tobin Consulting Engineers, found food-related items accounted for more than 16 per cent of litter with chewing gum being the single largest litter component in the food litter category, accounting for 15 per cent of all litter recorded.

Packaging litter at 12.4 per cent is the third largest component of national litter pollution recorded.


The worst litter culprits are pedestrians (41 per cent), motorists (18.7 per cent), retail outlets (10.3 per cent), places of leisure and entertainment (6.1 per cent), gathering points (5.5 per cent), school children (4.8 per cent) and fast food outlets (4.7 per cent).

The level of litter was improving however, with 12.3 per cent of areas surveyed considered litter free, compared to 12.2 per cent in 2013.

Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly said people needed to take individual responsibilty for litter.

“Smokers in particular, in light of the results announced today, need to make every effort to dispose of cigarette butts correctly at all times.”