In June, a frustrated Redditor shared a picture of the dozens of cigarette butts their thoughtless neighbor had left on the Redditor’s driveway.
The health drawbacks of smoking and the risk of starting fires are well known after decadeslong campaigns to teach the public about both. One issue that doesn’t come up as often is the frequent littering some smokers engage in.
“My neighbor smokes cigarettes on his side yard and flicks them into my driveway,” this Redditor complained.
They then showed a picture of the butts, collected in a plastic cup which was most of the way full. The leaves and grass clippings stuck to some of the cigarettes demonstrated just how long they’d been lying on the ground — a pretty clear indicator that the original poster’s neighbor didn’t intend to clean them up.
Not only is this kind of litter a dirty, smelly problem for the property owner, but it’s also bad for the environment. As Truth Initiative reported, rain can wash these cigarette butts into a storm drain or the nearby soil, where they spread toxic chemicals and heavy metals.
Roughly 845,000 tons of new cigarette butts enter the environment every year, making them the most frequently littered item in many parts of the U.S.
Commenters on Reddit hated the neighbor’s littering just as much as the original poster did. One user suggested confronting the neighbor politely. “I had a neighbor who did this and I just asked him to not do it,” they said. “Worked really well actually; he was apologetic. I think he didn’t realize anybody cared. Worth a shot!”
“I had to scroll way too far to find this,” another commenter replied. “Whatever happened to being neighborly?”
The sensible suggestion was buried under more vengeful replies about the messiest way to return the neighbor’s “gift” to make a point. “Make one of those Mark Rober-style packages, but instead of glitter it throws a year’s worth of cigarette butts all over his house when he opens it,” said one popular comment. “Or soak them in water and stick them to the side of his house.”
Join our free newsletter for easy tips to save more, waste less, and help yourself while helping the planet.