SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – San Mateo County’s public health department announced the top items collected during coastal cleanup.

The stats show that by far, there’s one culprit for the most litter on the Peninsula’s beaches: cigarettes.

In fact, 71% of all the “items collected” were cigarette butts.

This pie chart shows what kinds of litter were collected during San Mateo County’s coastal cleanup. (Graph courtesy of San Mateo County Health)

Rounding out the top 10 were:

  • Other waste (metal, paper, etc.) – 7% of the total
  • Food wrappers (candy, chips, etc.) – 6%
  • Plastic, not bags – 4%
  • Plastic bags – 3%
  • Plastic beverage bottles – 2%
  • Plastic bottle caps – 2%
  • Metal bottle caps – 2%
  • Glass beverage bottles – 2%
  • Foam packaging – 1%

“Cigarette butts continue to be the #1 most littered item followed by many other types of single-use plastics,” the health department stated. “You can help reduce this litter by choosing reusables and opting for healthier options for you and the planet.”

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For example, beach-goers can consider taking apples instead of a bag of chips, or reusable containers as opposed to single-use containers.