Recycle cigarette butts

5 March 2014
On Clean Up Australia Day 2014 more than 15,000 tones of rubbish are estimated to have been removed from 7,140 sites around Australia.


This year each site was given a bag solely for cigarette butts. Cigarette butts are one of the biggest problems in Australia. For the first time this year these harmful and toxic items were being collected separately to be recycled. 

Yep, you read that right. You can now recycle cigarette butts.

The cigarette butts collected on Clean Up Australia Day were handed over to TerraCycle to be recycled into park benches, railways sleepers and rubbish bins. The venture is co-funded by tobacco companies making up the financial difference that it takes to get those small, often forgotten butts recycled.
The ash, tobacco and paper are turned into compost with the soil to be sold on for use. Filters are sterilised and broken down and this is what gets recycled into usable products.

TerraCycle relies on everyday people to help act as stations to collect items like cigarette butts outside of events such as Clean Up Australia Day. TerracCycle has worked with Australia Post to encourage anyone across Australia to post the collected cigarette butts them onto TerraCycles collection in NSW. The post cost is covered with free mail labels available from TerraCycles website. You (the station) will be award points for each box you send. These points can be donated to a local chairty or school. Want to learn more? Click here.

"TerraCycle works with more than 100 major brands in the U.S. and 24 countries overseas to collect used packaging and products that would otherwise be destined for landfills. It repurposes that waste into new, innovative materials and products that are available online and through major retailers." www.terracycle.com

Right now they do a limited collection of items aside from cigarette butts in Australia. Viewing the Canadian and US websites they offer a wider range of hard to recycle items like toothbrushes and document folders.

What do you think of this? Is rewarding people for recycling the way of the future?

7 comments

  1. That is really inspiring! It has to go viral! It's time to take care of our planet and it's not that hard if everyone starts with one small step and it could be this-recycling of cigarette butts, why not!

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  2. That's a great initiation! Our company often participate in different causes and I'll talk with my co-workers to popularize this one!

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