Waste from tabacco
products with filter

cigarette butt is what remains of a tobacco product after its use. It is important to note that when talking about filters (understood as waste) of tobacco products, reference is not only made to filters for traditional cigarettes and cigarillos, but also to filters for fine-cut and heated tobacco.

In the case of combusted tobacco, each butt consists of the filter, made in turn of cellulose acetate – which filters out the substances produced (residues, nicotine, carbon monoxide) and helps the smoker to hold and put out the cigarette – and also of paper, unburned tobacco, ash and other combustion by-products.

In the case of heated tobacco, stick filters are made of bioplastics (cellulose acetate and/or polylactic acid) with the function of lowering the temperature of the vapour, so as to make it suitable for inhalation. As there is no combustion, there is no ash or other smoke residues.

Both types of filters, those used in combusted tobacco products and those in heated tobacco products which if not disposed of properly, could cause considerable environmental damage.

The fight against littering is precisely the purpose behind Directive (EU) 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment (so-called SUP Directive), implemented in Italy by Legislative Decree 196/2021, which introduced specific measures on certain types of waste – including those generated by tobacco products with filter and filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products –in order to combat their dispersion in the environment.


These measures imply the economic responsibility of Producers who are obliged, with reference to this type of waste, to finance:

  • awareness-raising activities about tobacco waste littering;
  • litter cleaning operations;
  • collection (including the provision of containers) and subsequent transport to treatment plants;
  • treatment;
  • collection and reporting of data on the functioning of the EPR system.

From an operational point of view in order to fulfil this responsibility, Erion Care aims to define a national Agreement with the associations of municipalities and urban waste management companies. The Agreement will serve to establish the conditions and modalities with which the Compliance Scheme, on behalf of its Members, will contribute –in a spirit of co-responsibility and cooperation with the other players in the chain– to the efficient costs of removal, transport and treatment of tobacco product waste incurred by local authorities, as well as to awareness-raising campaigns to prevent the dispersion of this waste.

Product categories covered by the EPR system

Tobacco products with filters or filters marketed for use in combination with tobacco products containing cellulose acetate are considered a chemically modified natural polymer and fall within the scope of the SUP Decree if they meet certain conditions, namely: be disposable and/or contain a filter containing disposable plastic.

Examples of affected tobacco products:

  • Cigarettes and filtered cigars.
  • Tobacco sticks that can be used with the appropriate electronic devices (*).
  • Separate disposable filters (to be used for rolling tobacco).


(*) These electronic devices are also subject, as far as their end-of-life management is concerned, to the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulation – please visit the Erion WEEE website in this regard.

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