The UK’s first program to offer free cigarette waste recycling was launched this week in a bid to tackle the scourge of cigarette litter and reduce the amount of cigarette waste going to landfill.
The Cigarette Waste Brigade, which is the result of a partnership between US-headquartered recycling company TerraCycle and tobacco manufacturer Japan Tobacco International (JTI), will allow people across the UK to send cigarette butts and associated waste to be recycled.
The free scheme will be offered to both groups and workplaces, as well as individuals over the age of 18. Anyone who wants to participate simply needs to collect their cigarette or cigar butts and other waste and send it to TerraCycle, with ash, used and unused cigarette filters, rolling paper, inner foil packaging, and outer plastic packaging all accepted.
Much of the cigarette waste will then be recycled into a range of plastic products, such as delivery pallets, while any remaining tobacco or paper will be composted. The process to recycle cigarette waste has been developed by TerraCycle, while partners in the UK will recycle the collected cigarette waste material in bulk volumes.
The program is the first to offer recycling of cigarette waste in the UK. Billions of cigarette butts currently end up in landfills or on UK streets, where they made up over 35 per cent of litter in 2014, according to the Industry Council for Packaging & the Environment (INCPEN). Cigarette butts are not biodegradable, and can take decades to break down in the environment, while they can also contain carcinogens.
The UK is the ninth country to introduce a cigarette recycling programme run by TerraCycle, with similar programmes already up and running in the US, Japan, and France, among others. Tom
Szaky, founder and CEO of TerraCycle, said in a statement that the program has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of cigarette waste that litters UK streets. “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,” he added.
While the recycled waste will be sold onto manufacturers of industrial plastic goods, TerraCycle told BusinessGreen recycling the material currently costs more than the resulting recycled material can be sold for. As a result the initiative is being funded byJTI as part of its efforts to encourage smokers to make the responsible choice when disposing of cigarette waste.
Charlie Cunningham Reid, head of corporate Affairs at JTI, urged smokers in the UK to both sign up themselves and encourage local workplaces and public places to join the scheme.
“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,” he said in a statement.
Source: Recycling BG