The Hold On To Your Butt program aims to raise awareness about the environmental impact of cigarette butt litter on our oceans, waves and beaches, and to help eliminate cigarette butt litter in San Diego County and beyond.  Cigarette butts account for approximately one in every five items collected during our beach cleanups.  Often littered on our sidewalks and streets, they end up in our storm drains, flowing to our streams, rivers, bays, lagoons and ultimately the ocean.

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Check out this Cigarette Butt Litter PSA

The Environmental Impact of Cigarette Butts:

  • An estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are disposed of in our environment annually worldwide.
  • Cigarette butts leach toxins when wet, posing a threat to marine life.
  • Litter clean up costs the U.S. over 11 billion annually, cigarette butts represent an estimated 32% of that litter.
  • Cigarette butts are composed of cellulose acetate, a non-biodegradable plastic, which can take up to 25 years to decompose.
  • Littered cigarette butts pose a significant fire threat.
We Are Making A Difference:
  • Installing ashcans throughout San Diego County, with an approximate 65% reduction in cigarette butt litter in those areas
  • Distributing pocket ashtrays to smokers
  • Raising community awareness through events like our annual Hold On To Your Butt Day
  • Advocating for stronger law enforcement of litter laws

Surfrider has installed over 230 ashcans in San Diego County, with a 65% reduction in butts where ashcans are installed. View the interactive map here.  Sponsor an ashcan using the Ash Can Sponsorship Form.

The HOTYB program is always looking for volunteers!  For more information contact



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