Pocket ashtrays: A way to avoid pollution and fires

Last updated July 11, 2023
Reading time: 2 min

Cigarette butts are harmful for the environment and are one of the most frequent causes of fire in Montréal. The solution: Pocket ashtrays, which reduce the environmental impacts and fire risks associated with cigarette butts.

Small, odourless and reusable

Use a pocket ashtray when you are on the road or when there are no ashtrays nearby. It is small, odourless and reusable.

If family and friends are visiting you in your yard or on the balcony but do not have a pocket ashtray, take a deep jelly jar filled with wet sand and place it on a non-combustible surface to be used as an ashtray.

Where can you get a pocket ashtray?

Cendriers de poche
Different models are on the market and in a number of éco-quartiers in Montréal.

Dangers of cigarette butts

Are you a “butthead”? Buttheads toss their cigarette butts anywhere. This habit is still widespread because it is considered socially acceptable, despite the risks.  

On average, cigarette butts make up 30 per cent of the litter found on streets and sidewalks in big cities like Montréal. One cigarette butt, as small as it may seem, is partially made of plastic and contains up to 7,000 chemicals. Once it’s on the ground, it takes about 12 years to decompose. If the wind and rain blow it into the sewer system or a body of water, it can pollute up to 500 litres of water.

Be mindful of fire hazards

While some smokers throw their butts on the sidewalk, others put out their butts in flower pots or toss them into a flower bed. Even if you think you put your butt out, it could still cause a fire. But how?

Black earth and mulch are composed of combustible peat, moss and wood chips that also contain chemical fertilizer. When these materials come into contact with a heat source, they can catch fire. This situation is even more dangerous, as four to five hours can pass between the time when a cigarette butt is crushed in soil and the time that the first flames appear. The risk is even greater when the soil is dry.