Is my preroll killing mother earth?

The short answer to this question may be very well YES, depending on what kind of filter tips you are using. Filter tips an be found in marijuana dispensary pre-rolls and unfilled cones and many people use them when rolling marijuana joints, are proving to be an environmental catastrophe in some instances. 

From production to disposal, some filter tips cause damage to nearly every part of our planet including water, air, wildlife, and maybe even to smokers themselves. Do we really want smoking weed lumped in with all those people tossing cigarette butts on the ground?

  • What are Filter Tips and How are They Made?
  • The Damage Doesn’t End There
  • The Good Guys Making Tips the Right Way
  • What You Can Do to Help the Planet
  • The Bottom Line
@Christine_Sclafani explains how bad filter tips are for the environment.

Continue on to learn more about why using these tiny tips can have massive environmental consequences as well as what you can do to help.

RAW Joint Tips
Tips like these from RAW can be found at online smoke shops like

What are Filter Tips and How are They Made?

What exactly is a Joint Filter Tip?

Filter tips are designed to act as a mouthpiece that separates your lips from any direct contact with a joint. They are popular among smokers since they are believed to provide a host of benefits, such as:

  • preventing burns
  • adding structural integrity to your joint
  • preserving your weed by letting you smoke it all the way to the end 

How are Filter Tips Manufactured?

The manufacturing process of filter tips for a number of companies is horribly detrimental to the environment. Joint filters are often made of cardboard or sturdy paper, and some are even made using a form of sterilized plastic. 

Paper is often created using overseas forests and logging operations, and it takes about 24 trees to produce a single ton of paper. Plastic is also made by exploiting natural resources such as coal, crude oil, and natural gases. This deprives the local wildlife and communities of much-needed land and resources.

Making paper and cardboard out of harvested trees requires massive amounts of water and energy, and filter tip manufacturers often add bleaching agents to their products that further contribute to air and water pollution.

The Damage Doesn’t End There

Once filter tips have been manufactured, distributed, and sold, they are often disposed of in a way that continues to damage and pollute the environment. Discarded filters take up scarce landfill space as well as contaminate groundwater and aid in the production of harmful greenhouse gases such as methane.

Pre-Rolled marijuana Joint
Pre-rolls are sold in most dispensaries around the world.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of filter tips don’t even make it to these landfills. In addition to cigarette butts, filter tips are one of the most commonly littered items in the United States. Cardboard can take up to three months to fully decompose, while plastic is significantly less biodegradable and can take years to break down. This not only contaminates natural resources but also greatly threatens wildlife that may ingest these discarded filters. 

The Good Guys

What You Can Do to Help the Planet

While an environmental issue as large as this one may seem well beyond your control, there are a few things you can do as a joint smoker to help alleviate the amount of damage being done. 

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Being more mindful of what types of filter tips you purchase is a great first step toward promoting the use of more sustainable and biodegradable materials. Instead of cardboard or plastic, look for filter tips made from materials such as flax, hemp, or cotton. Buying unbleached tips is also a great way to prevent further contamination. 

Greenbutts and High Hemp are two companies that sell amazing and eco-friendly filter tips. Greenbutts makes filters out of sustainable materials such as flax and cotton, and High Hemp’s unbleached filter tips are made from recycled cardboard.

After smoking, don’t just throw your filter on the ground or out the window! Always make sure to dispose of your filters in a proper receptacle. You can even save your filters and recycle them once you’ve stored up enough. 

The best thing you can do for the environment, which may surprise you, is to abandon using filter tips altogether.  While this may seem like a health risk, there is evidence to suggest that using filter tips doesn’t actually lower the risks of smoking and may even be more dangerous than smoking unfiltered joints. Forgoing the use of filter tips is by far the most environmentally friendly solution to this issue.

The Bottom Line

Filter tips, despite being marketed as beneficial for smokers, have quickly become one of the largest and most pressing environmental issues to date. Both the manufacturing and disposal process of filters continually inflict damage to nearly every facet of our planet. You can do your part in alleviating this issue by simply being more mindful of which filter tips you use, and ditching tips altogether may be the most beneficial. It’s time to help save our planet one joint at a time.