How San Francisco Uses Litterati Data to Successfully Defend Multi-Million Annual Tobacco Tax in Court

by | July 07, 2021


Discarded cigarette butts require significant city resources to clean up from sidewalks, parks, and waterways. San Francisco city officials decided to act—and believed that Big Tobacco should be held to greater Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).


How do you identify what percent of litter comes from cigarettes and determine a reasonable estimate of the cost the city incurs to clean them up?


Over a 5-day period, Litterati mapped and tagged nearly 5,000 pieces of litter across 32 key areas to gather unbiased data to show exactly how much of the city’s litter was generated by discarded cigarette butts.


Based on the data, the court not only ruled in favor of the new cigarette sales tax that the tobacco industry had legally contested, they actually ruled to double the size of the initial tax.

This money was then allocated to help clean the streets and increase consumer awareness about the impact cigarette butts have across the city and in the nearby Bay.

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