San Francisco Surfrider Foundation

Hold On To Your Butt

Show your love for SF! If you smoke, you never need to litter again:

  • Carry a reusable pocket ashtray (find at Daiso or online). Extinguish the butt in your ashtray, and dispose responsibly. Use the ashtray again and again.
  • Find and use a buttcan. We’ll recycle all your butts with TerraCycle.

Why do we care so much about butts?

Well, because they’re…


Cigarette filters are made of the same plastic used in sunglasses—cellulose acetate. Littered butts break up into tiny plastic threads that pollute our water and soil.

Toxic to aquatic life

Cigarette filters leach nicotine, arsenic, formaldehyde, lead, cadmium, and more into water and soil, threatening water quality, marine life, and seafood safety. The EPA proved that 1 butt in 1 liter of water kills 50% of the fish.

Polluting our planet

The Surgeon General proved that cigarette filters do not reduce the chance of death or disease from smoking. Filters are a tobacco industry marketing gimmick that pollute our Earth with 1.7 million pounds of plastic, toxic litter every year.

In the San Francisco Bay Area alone, 3 billion butts are littered annually. You can help change that!

Our work

Surfrider’s Hold onto Your Butt campaign works to eliminate cigarette butt litter by:

  • Partnering with local businesses and government to install buttcans throughout San Francisco
  • Educating that cigarette butts are plastic and toxic
  • Cleaning cigarette butts off beaches and streets and recycling butts through TerraCycle
  • Advocating for the removal of plastic cigarette filters and the creation of anti-litter policies

More resources