The dark side of cigarette butts soon under control?


The initiative “a month without tobacco” in November, brings up the problem of cigarette butts. 4300 billons per year in the world, 12 years of degradation, 1/3 of the ground pollution, one of them can contaminate 500 L of water:  this is the sad reality of this simple not biodegradable waste. Review of initiatives and projects leading to reduce this contamination

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Reuse of cigarette butts

Today, a second life is possible for cigarette butts thanks to recycling.  The organic matter in the cigarette butt can be used as compost, and the rest is processed in a new plastic material exploited as a substitute of wood. In France, numerus stat-up collects and then recycles this waste. Now, cigarette butts can even be a solution against global warming…This is the winning bet of Dr Mohajerani, cigarette butts are incorporated to bitumen to construct a new type of  pavement. Indeed, this new material adds remarkable properties: reduction of the thermal conductivity, thus the heat dissipation is decreasing which limit warming the city. New perspectives are open on other materials, like for construction. But for those innovated recycling of cigarette butts it requires to pick them before.

New innovating manners to collect butts

Cost to pick up cigarette butts on the ground is evaluated at 500 euros per day for Paris, solutions are being studied to encourage civility from smokers. This is the aim of the project “Borne to Recycle”, it is a new intelligent ashtray installed in the city. Settled in the street, this connected box educates people to this simple action: throwing cigarette waste on a bin. Litter cigarette butts become playful because this ashtray became an opinion poll, according to the yes/no compartment where you put your waste. This box is then collected, this is a real link between the consumer and the recycle factory.

Beyond this of the smoker action, in Netherland this collect is intended with animals. Not any kind: a raven. Intelligent and known for stealing article as see in “The Castafiore Emerald” they appear as the good ones to retrieve cigarette butts. Thanks to a special platform: the “crowbar”, crows can exchange a peanut against a cigarette butt. A long training which is needed to educate this animal, but some specialist are sceptics. Peanuts don’t seem to be enough to educate them in this city environment full of “tasty” waste. But finally, this solution highlights the incapacity for human to management they own waste they always need to mobilise nature to bury or receipt them.



Project “Borne to recycle” :

Figures on cigarette butts:

Road with cigarette butts:

Crows to collect cigarette  butts:








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