Canada’ s western city of Vancouver launched a new pilot program to recycle cigarette butts earlier this week, a move that will help keep its downtown clean and bring the city closer to its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan goals.
The Cigarette Waste Brigade pilot program, the first of its kind in the world, was launched with the installation of 110 new cigarette recycling receptacles on several blocks within four downtown districts.
The receptacles were easily identified with stickers that say “Recycle Your Butts Here”, and the butts will be recycled into a variety of industrial products such as plastic pallets by TerraCycle Canada, an international upcycling company.
“We have heard loud and clear that people want easy and convenient ways to keep our downtown streets and public spaces clean,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“Cigarette butts are a real source of litter downtown, and this innovative pilot project with TerraCycle will help keep toxic butts off our streets and out of the landfill.
Contrary to popular belief, cigarette filters are resistant to degradation. Filters are made from cellulose acetate, and the toxicity can poison essential links in the aquatic food chain.
Cigarette butts are among the most numerically frequent litters in the world. In 2012, the International Coastal Cleanup released 25 years worth of data (1987-2012), indicating that cigarettes and cigarette butts constituted over 30 percent of the total pieces of garbage collected.