A story appeared today in USA Today’s Green House section about efforts around the world to start recycling cigarette butts. When I saw it, I almost yelled out, “Hallelujah!” in the middle of my office.
If there’s one thing I could eliminate from my environment, it would be discarded cigarette butts. They’re all over the place, and they not only gross me out, but they symbolize how thoughtless and selfish people can be.
When I see someone flick a cigarette out a car window, I want to speed up and run them off the road.
That wouldn’t exactly help my environment, though. I could end up in jail.
Anyway, thank goodness for Terra Cycle, which is spearheading a recycling program in Canada that turns butts into plastic pallets for industrial use. According to the article, Terra Cycle will “give people free prepaid UPS shipping labels to mail the waste they’ve collected as well as points (equal to $1 per pound of waste received) they can donate to a charity of their choice.”
Might I suggest an organization that promotes lung cancer awareness, or warns against the dangers of secondhand smoke?
There I go again. Sorry. Some American cities have started trying to keep streets and sidewalks clear of disgusting cigarette butts. For example, if you live in San Francisco, your smokes cost an extra 20 cents per pack — a “litter abatement fee.” While that’s not recycling per se, it’s an eco-friendly gesture.
Whether or not a cigarette butt is disposed of properly, it’s nice to know it’s possible to turn it into something useful. I’m always glad to see advancements in recycling, and butt recycling is another step in the right direction.
As Terra Cycle founder said in the USA Today article: “As a company committed to recycling waste streams that others deem worthless or unsavory, cigarette waste will help to promote our belief that everything can and should be recycled.”