The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that in the U.S. only about 4.5 trillion of the 6 trillion cigarettes are smoked each year up to and everyone will be surely scattered in the environment. That is a serious problem, because the largest part of our trash eventually ends up in water courses, and cigarettes contain a lot of toxins that can contaminate the environment. “it Takes only a single cigarette butts to contaminate a litre of water“ said Tom Szaky founder of TerraCycle “animals can also confuse tips scattered with food.”
Since the launch the company has collected no less than 7 thousand boxes of recycling cigarette in nine countries around the world, including the USA, Uk and Australia, and people can also send in their cigarette butts to be recycled without any cost.
“We haven’t found anything that we can’t recycle.”, says TerraCycle
How to turn the experience into something useful?
The organic material, such as tobacco and paper are transformed by composting, and will later be used as fertilizer for golf courses or football.
The filters are a little more difficult to recycle, because many are made of cellulose acetate, which is a type of plastic that is also used to manufacture sunglasses. For the filters, the TerraCycle promotes a sterilization, and then mixed them with the materials that are recyclable, allowing them to be melted in the plastic industrial. The product of this mixture results in a kind of low quality wood that can be used to construct crates, transport pallets, for example. The company also cites products such as ashtrays and material for construction of parks and public squares, and in the future, may be constructed of brick to the masonry.
While the manufacturing process is simple, the real problem is the cost. The company has 2 thousand butts of cigarettes to have 1 kg of plastic, and, unfortunately, the recycling process costs more than the plastic products. But either way, the recycling of cigarette butts is a success.
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