Tobacco companies are being billed for the clean up efforts of millions of cigarette ends which smokers discard every year in Spain as new environment regulations come into play.
The ruling comes into force this Friday and is part of a package of measures which aim to reduce waste and increase the practice of recycling.
Cigarette manufacturers will be responsible for educating the public on not discarding their cigarette ends in public spaces. It remains to be seen how the clean-ups will be implemented and how much it will actually cost.
One study by Catalan put the cost between €12 to €21 per citizen per annum, which amounts up to a total of around €1bn. A scheme was also proposed by the Catalan government whereby cigarette butts could be redeemed for €0.20 each, adding €4 to the current average price of €50 for a pack of 20. This scheme has not yet been introduced.
It is also assumed that tobacco companies will pass on the cost to the consumer, which would incentivise the users themselves to quit.
Cigarette ends are some of the most polluting substances worldwide as they take around 10 years to decompose as they emit toxic substances into the environment in the process.
The measures also include a ban on single use plastic cutlery and plates, cotton buds, plastic straws and expanded polystyrene cups.