San Francisco Surfrider Foundation

Hold On To Your Butt

Show your love! If you smoke:

  • 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.

Cigarette butts are:


Cigarette filters are made of thin strands of plastic called cellulose acetate, also used in sunglasses. Left to their own devices, littered cigarette butts break down into plastic fibers that pollute our water and soil.

Toxic to aquatic life

Cigarette butts 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 half the fish.

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

Our mission

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