More than a million cigarette butts have been collected for recycling in just a few short months since Terracycle launched its Cigarette Waste Brigade in March. Terracycle, the awesome company dedicated to recycling the un-recyclable, takes Australia’s second-most littered item and turns it into useful things such as plastic shipping pallets and railway sleepers.
Accepted cigarette waste includes the plastic wrapping around fag packets and the foil lining inside, tobacco pouches, cigarette filters, rolling paper, ash and, of course, extinguished cigarette and cigar butts.
Where do the smokers you know hang out? Work, your local pub, their living rooms? Ask them to collect the waste from their bad habit and earn money to be donated to the charity or school of your choice.
To start recycling cigarette butts:
- Sign up with the Cigarette Waste Brigade here (you must be over 18).
- Collect ciggy waste in plastic bags. 1kg equals a $2 donation.
- Print a free-post label and send your collection to Terracycle.
What about all those butts on the ground?
Trillions – yep trillions – of cigarette butts are improperly discarded around the world every year. These fag ends are made from a plastic that degrades very slowly and are designed to suck up toxins. When they reach the sea or other waterway, they quickly begin to leach chemicals like cadmium, lead and arsenic into the water. Marine life that isn’t poisoned by butts or leftover tobacco can die when the filters get stuck in their airways or digestive tracts. Next time you’re organising or taking part in a clean-up, consider focusing on cigarette butts. Be sure to wear gloves and note that this is not an activity for kids.