Reduce post-consumer waste

Beyond our primary focus of replacing cigarettes with less harmful alternatives for adults who would otherwise continue to smoke—thereby reducing the negative impacts of our products on the health of our consumers—we understand the need to address the environmental impact of our products. We’re doing this by embedding principles of circularity and eco-design, implementing effective post-consumer waste management solutions, addressing litter, and promoting responsible disposal of products at their end-of-life.

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Our 2025 Roadmap goals

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Reduce post-consumer waste and prevent littering by implementing comprehensive programs covering all our consumables.

Follow eco-design and circularity principles for all smoke-free electronic devices.

Key performance indicators to track our progress

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See full performance metrics

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Learn more about PMI’s Sustainability Index in our Integrated Report 2021. See the full performance metrics and related footnotes here.

The right thing to do

At PMI, we believe we can, and should, play a role in reducing waste from our products and addressing the issue of littering, by helping develop and scale up innovative solutions.

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The right thing to do

At PMI, we believe we can, and should, play a role in reducing waste from our products and addressing the issue of littering by helping develop and scale up innovative solutions. Reducing and appropriately managing post-consumer waste means we can extract, convert, and use fewer raw materials from a planet with limited natural resources. Moreover, committing to the safe and responsible disposal of this waste is the right thing to do, as we share society’s concerns regarding the impacts of litter—such as pollution and harm to wildlife. We recognize our role in working to preserve natural environments.

The business case

Beyond ecological considerations, inadequate post-consumer waste management and litter carries societal and financial impacts, ranging from cleanup costs to perceptions of untidiness and reduced safety in areas with high litter prevalence.

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The business case

Beyond ecological considerations, inadequate post-consumer waste management and litter carries societal and financial impacts, ranging from cleanup costs to perceptions of untidiness and reduced safety in areas with high litter prevalence. Appropriately addressing post-consumer waste helps us enhance our brand equity and company reputation, and meet consumer expectations.

It also allows us to mitigate implications for our bottom line, as producers increasingly are asked to participate in cleanup costs, for instance.

Finally, it motivates us to innovate in a way that can drive competitive advantage by devising more circular value chains. These value chains are linked not only to less waste and less litter, but also to better use of materials and higher operational efficiency—all of which are good for our triple bottom line. 

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Our progress in 2021

Read more in our Integrated Report

2021 performance highlights​

  • Active anti-littering campaigns in 46 countries
  • 3,150 volunteers across 53 countries participating in World Cleanup Day
  • 9 pilot programs launched to collect and manage post-consumer waste from our smoke-free consumables 
Related articles, case studies, and videos

Zoom in: Post-consumer waste

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Tobacco leaf close-up

Preserve nature

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Littering prevention and sustainability in the Nordics


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Sustain product reliability

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Working with behavioral scientists to change attitudes toward littering


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PMI collaborates with Cortexia to analyze litter


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PMI and Litterati: Working together


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Related reports, policies, and documents


Environmental commitment



Anti-littering policy


Looking ahead

We will continue to systematically implement our sustainable design principles throughout our product development. Research will continue to identify technologies and materials that could enhance the overall sustainability of our smoke-free product portfolio.


As we continue to refine our products, we expect iterations at the design stage to leverage our eco-design principles and further support our second-life program ambitions. Meanwhile, we will continue to rollout our CIRCLE program across the markets in which we commercialize our smoke-free products, amplifying our reach while maintaining high recycling rates.


As we move along in our eco-design certification ambition, we are engaging with eco-labeling organizations to support product category definitions for electronics, and translate the insights into our product development process. 


Bin Li, Chief Product Officer

Leveraging the learnings of the pilot programs we launched in 2021, we will expand our responsible post-consumer waste management programs for smoke-free consumables to the global level. We will continue to combat littering and work to develop products that further integrate eco-design principles, driving significant waste reduction and addressing the issue at the source.


We will also take steps to commercialize second-life devices on a larger scale. First, we plan to expand the collection of used devices and further test first-level triage processes (e.g., at our IQOS stores) while improving the recovery process and our repair and refresh capabilities. As these capabilities will strengthen over time and new product generations will be more repairable by design, we expect an increasing number of devices to be sorted for recovery and second life. 


Stefano Volpetti, President, Smoke-Free Products Category & Chief Consumer Officer *

In 2022, we will continue deploying and expanding cigarette butt anti-littering programs across the countries in which we operate, in coordination with key stakeholders and partners.


We will intensify our efforts to research and apply effective solutions to increase awareness of the littering issue among adult smokers, and we will continue to use our brands as carriers of those messages when possible.


Meanwhile, we remain committed to investing in R&D to find solutions that can successfully help us remove plastic from our combustible products, by exploring and assessing alternative filtering materials that can completely replace cellulose acetate. 


Werner Barth, President, Combustibles Category & Global Combustibles Marketing

* Stefano Volpetti became President, Smoke-Free Inhaled Products and Chief Consumer Officer in January 2023.

This online content about our Integrated Report should be read in conjunction with PMI’s 2021 Integrated Report. The information and data presented here cover the 2021 calendar year or reflect status at December 31, 2021, worldwide, unless otherwise indicated. Where not specified, data come from PMI estimates. Please also refer to 'This report at a glance' on page 5 of the 2021 Integrated Report for more information. Aspirational targets and goals do not constitute financial projections, and achievement of future results is subject to risks, uncertainties and inaccurate assumptions, as outlined in our forward-looking and cautionary statements on page 252. In the 2021 Integrated Report and in related communications, the terms “materiality,” “material,” and similar terms, when used in the context of economic, environmental, and social topics, are defined in the referenced sustainability standards and are not meant to correspond to the concept of materiality under the U.S. securities laws and/or disclosures required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.


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