Traditional butts are made of “synthetic polymer cellulose acetate” and never degrade, only breaking apart after roughly 5 years. Birds and marine animals can mistake cigarette butts for food. Animals have been found with large quantities of butts in their stomachs. Toxins enter the food chain and wreak havoc with fish, birds and mammals. Yet within an hour of contact with water, cigarette butts can begin leaching chemicals such as cadmium, lead and arsenic into the marine environment.