How many times have you been sitting at a stoplight or walking down the beach only to be confronted by unsightly piles of discarded cigarette butts? Previously, there was little besides moral outrage to persuade smokers to responsibly dispose of their spent cigarettes. Even assuming cigarette waste was kept off the streets and out of the environment, its best outcome was to wind up in a landfill.
Enter Toronto-based recycler TerraCycle, which recently unveiled the Cigarette Waste Brigade, Canada’s first national collection and recycling program for cigarette waste in partnership with the country’s largest tobacco manufacturer. Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are not biodegradable, consisting primarily of a tar-laden cellulose acetate (plastic) filter. The program will allow smokers to return bags of butts, foil and plastic packaging via prepaid mail for points equating to roughly $1 per pound of material. The plastic filters will be recycled into industrial shipping pallets, while the paper and remaining tobacco will be composted.
Now they only need to create a market for all of those ruined lungs.
Source: TerraCycle Inc.