Let's be honest: cigarette littering is a sizeable issue. Cigarette filters are one of the most frequently discarded items in the environment worldwide. In Germany alone, studies suggest that approximately 60% of purchased tobacco products are improperly disposed of in household waste, while the remaining 40% are discarded in public areas. The careless disposal of smoking waste on streets, pavements, and in the environment is a major issue. Not only does it pose an additional challenge for local cleaning services, but since conventional cigarette filters are primarily composed of plastic (cellulose acetate) and contain various, and at times harmful, residues from tobacco smoke after smoking, they represent a significant burden on the environment and a potential threat to a range of animals.
As a responsible manufacturer, Reemtsma has long placed special emphasis on combating this issue. Our focus is not only on researching and using more sustainable product solutions such as paper filters, but also on raising awareness and sensitizing consumers. Because when waste – of any kind and despite the existence of disposal options – is simply disposed of in the environment, littering becomes a consumer issue.
Since October 2022, we have therefore been offering smokers a concrete and low-threshold service in the form of our "(T)Aschenbecher" (Pocket Ashtray) so that they can properly collect and dispose of smoking waste in their own everyday lives practically anytime and anywhere.
We’re not doing this alone, but together with retail partners along our value chain, for example with petrol retailer SCORE Tankstellen- und Mineralöl-Handels GmbH from Emden. To kick off this pilot project, which is unique in the German tobacco market, a total of 25,000 Reemtsma Pocket Ashtrays were offered free of charge at all of the almost 50 SCORE stations in northwest Germany at the end of 2022.
The response to the initiative was very positive, which is why we will extend it to more trading partners in 2023.
The fact that Pocket Ashtrays are an effective means of raising consumer awareness is demonstrated by an Ipsos survey commissioned by the Federal Association of the Tobacco Industry and New Products (BVTE). The survey questioned 3,500 adult smokers in Germany in 2022. According to the survey, more than 4 out of 5 respondents are aware of Pocket Ashtrays, and 44 percent have also used them themselves. Three quarters of all respondents have a positive attitude towards pocket ashtrays, and about half confirm their positive contribution to environmental protection.
This demonstrates that there is widespread awareness and acceptance of Pocket Ashtrays in Germany. With our initiative, we want to continuously expand their use in everyday life. We are convinced that manufacturers, retailers and consumers have to pull together to make a concrete positive contribution to more environmental protection and more sustainability. There are many ways to act more sustainably in everyday life. Often, it’s the small things that can have a great impact.
Further information on the Reemtsma "Pocket Ashtray" and on our diverse measures for more sustainability at Reemtsma and Imperial Brands can also be found on our Public Affairs website.
There, you will also learn about our stance on the European Union's Single-Use Plastics Directive and the key factors we believe are critical for its successful implementation in Germany, and much more.