Resource Use

Smoking waste recycling programme launched

An initiative to provide people across the UK with a way to recycle cigarette butts and other smoking waste has been launched today (28 September).

The Cigarette Waste Brigade is the result of a partnership between post-consumer recycling company TerraCycle and tobacco manufacturer Japan Tobacco International (JTI).

Smoking waste recycling programme launchedIt is the latest campaign launched by TerraCycle, which has previously set up ‘brigades’ to provide recycling solutions for items including air fresheners, biscuit wrappers and baby food packaging.

Under the scheme, any group, workplace, council or individual over 18 can sign up to collect cigarette waste and send it to TerraCycle for free.

Cigarette and cigar butts, ash, used and unused filters, rolling paper and foil and plastic packaging are all accepted by the scheme and will be recycled by TerraCycle into plastic pellets. According to the company, these can then be used to make a variety of products, such as delivery pallets, with any surplus tobacco or paper being composted.

Research conducted by the Industry Council for research on Packaging and the Environment (INCPEN) shows that smoking materials are the UK’s most commonly littered items, making up 35.2 per cent of items littered. TerraCycle hopes that by making these products visibly recyclable, litter will be reduced and residents will be encouraged to clean up their communities.

Potential to ‘drastically reduce’ cigarette waste

Commenting on the launch of the new scheme, TerraCycle CEO and Founder, Tom Szaky said: “The Cigarette Waste Brigade has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of cigarette waste that is littered. At the same time it also provides a recycling solution for cigarette butts that have been properly disposed of in an ashtray but before the launch of this new cigarette waste recycling solution would have ultimately ended up in landfill anyway.

“Both TerraCycle and JTI encourage people across the UK to sign up to the Cigarette Waste Brigade and to approach workplaces and public places with designated smoking areas in your communities to sign up as well.

“Pubs, bars, restaurants, shopping centres, train stations, airports and even local councils are exactly the sort of places that should be encouraged to sign up and recycle the cigarette waste that is being generated on their premises.”

Fighting cigarette litter

The Neat Streets campaign, led by sustainable campaigning charity Hubbub, has also turned its attentions to cigarette litter, described by a local councilor as a “sworn enemy” of local government, this month.

Research carried out by Hubbub found that cigarette butts represented 78 per cent of all litter on Villiers Street in central London, where the campaign is based, and that 89 per cent of observed smokers littered their butts.

In an attempt to cut down on the amount of smoking waste littered, the campaign is trialling a number of initiatives including an interactive smokers’ pole, a cigarette voting bin that gives smokers a chance to vote on sports questions with used butts and portable ashtrays that are being made available in local pubs and bars.

Find out more about TerraCycle’s Cigarette Waste Brigade.

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