A NSW Government website

NSW Plastics Action Plan

Outcome 3: Reduced plastic leakage

Action 4: Tackle cigarette butt litter

Cigarette butts are one of the largest sources of plastic litter. They not only remain in our natural environment for a long time, but they are often toxic and can wash into our waterways, usually through stormwater systems.

The community is typically burdened with the immediate costs of cleaning up cigarette litter, with the long-term environmental harm becoming an intergenerational issue.

The NSW Government will investigate a new extended producer responsibility scheme making tobacco companies take responsibility for environmental impacts of their products. This may be by setting mandatory litter reduction targets to be met through a range of approved activities.

Action 5: Reduce the risk of nurdles entering the environment

Nurdles are small plastic pellets used to manufacture plastic products. Owing to their tiny size, they are hard to remove from the environment and their usually clear appearance mean nurdles can be mistaken for food by marine wildlife.

To help prevent nurdles entering our waterways, the NSW Government will provide $500,000 to help plastic manufacturers improve their systems. We will also provide guidance for councils about best practice nurdle management, similar to Operation Clean Sweep guidelines. Operation Clean Sweep is a global initiative to help plastics manufacturers collect and correctly dispose of resin pellets and flakes so they do not flow into waterways.

By phasing out some of the most littered plastic items, we can stop 2.7 billion items of plastic litter entering our natural environment and waterways over 20 years.