New Orleans Becomes First U.S. City to Recycle Cigarette Butts

TerraCycle and New Orleans team up to recycle the city's cigarette butts
Photo: waferboard/Flickr

Here at TerraCycle we can find a way of recycling just about anything. Think of something that you couldn’t imagine would ever become recyclable. Do cigarette butts come to mind? Well, TerraCycle has teamed up with the city of New Orleans to make this dream into a reality. Matt Hickman at Mother Nature Network covers the beginning of the Cigarette Brigade in the Louisiana city, which has the distinction of becoming the first U.S. city to work with TerraCycle in order to recycle their cigarette waste (in 2012 Vancouver became the first city in the world to launch the program).

Eventually, New Orleans plans to install about 50 recycling receptacles around the city center, each labeled “Recycle Your Butts Here”. The New Orleans Downtown Development District will collect the cellulose acetate stubs and ship them to TerraCycle at regular intervals, and the city will receive $4 for every pound sent in. Once the butts reach TerraCycle, the filters will be shredded, rid of biotoxins, and melted into plastic pellets. Non-plastic waste like tobacco and paper will be composted.

Not crazy about the idea of buying something made from old cigarette butts? Don’t worry, those pellets won’t find their way into any consumer products. Instead, they’ll be used in products used for industrial purposes like pallets and plastic lumber.

TerraCycle isn’t stopping at just two cities, though. We are currently in talks with officials from all over the world, from Atlantic City to Sydney to Tokyo, to try and make the Cigarette Brigade a global phenomenon.

Check out the full story!

Leave a Reply