Posts with term Cigarette Waste Brigade X

Partnership gives cigarette butts new purpose

When volunteers swarm Navarre Beach to collect garbage each month, cigarette butts often fill their collection buckets. Thousands of these burned, squished and tossed pieces of plastic trash are left on the beach to eventually wash into the Gulf of Mexico. Once in the water this garbage poses a serious threat to wildlife that may accidentally consume it, but that is where TerraCycle comes in. The Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center has partnered with this New Jersey-based recycling company to turn some of the collected waste, including cigarette butts, into new products. TerraCycle lives by the mantra nothing is garbage, as evidenced by its slogan “eliminating the idea of waste.” The company has developed a variety of programs to prove that point, taking materials that are generally considered non-recyclable and giving them new life.

Smoker snuffs out litter

Recycling has become pretty commonplace. Into Savannah’s yellow and black bins go bottles, cans, paper and cardboard. But cigarette butts? That’s what Emily Lyons recycles. After the 21-year-old Savannah resident learned that cigarette butts don’t decompose quickly — the filters are plastic — she quit flicking her Maverick Menthol 100s onto the roadway and starting saving them for a national recycling initiative. The program is sponsored by Terracycle, and Lyons discovered it through a website that offers other recycling programs. She saves the cigarette butts in a Folger’s can, tripled bagged and exiled to the porch to keep the odor away, and sends them off with a prepaid label when the can is full. At Terracycle, the cigarette waste is separated into the compostable parts and the plastic filters, which are recycled into items such as plastic pallets for industrial uses.

Eye on the Environment: Coastal Cleanup Day a success

A total of 11,846 pounds of litter, or 5.9 tons: That’s the amount of debris collected during Ventura County’s Coastal Cleanup Day last month. This year's campaign highlighted the problem of cigarette-butt litter to raise awareness of the harm it poses to the environment and motivate proper disposal. Since 1989, cigarette butts have been the No. 1 item collected during cleanups. During the three-hour cleanup this year, 19,020 cigarette butts were collected in Ventura County alone; more than 5,000 were from a single beach site. Other top items collected were plastic bags, food wrappers, straws, plastic bottles and bottle caps. What makes cigarette filters an especially egregious form of litter is their persistence and toxicity. Cigarette filters are made of a plastic called cellulose acetate, and they do not biodegrade. They slowly break into smaller and smaller plastic pieces, but they never completely disappear from the environment. Cigarette butts are also loaded with toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens that can leach into the environment. They pose a choking and poisoning hazard to young children and to wildlife that may mistake the filters for food. In 2013, American poison control centers received 5,582 reports of poisoning from ingestion of cigarettes or cigarette butts in children 5 or younger. Butts and other litter found at beaches usually don’t usually originate there. Litter washes in from city streets through creeks and storm drains and eventually ends up on our beaches. The Coastal Commission estimates that 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources. This waste has also drawn the attention of local activist group Surfrider. “The Ventura Surfrider chapter launched their ‘Hold on to Your Butt’ campaign in June this year to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact of cigarette butts through education and activism,” said Juli Marciel, a Surfrider member and the site captain for Ventura Promenade Park. At their regularly hosted cleanups, Surfrider members collect butts, track totals and recycle them through Terracycle, a cigarette butt recycling program. Surfrider uses data to advocate for better enforcement and implementation of littering and smoking laws and extended producer responsibility. More information and ways to get involved can be found at www.ventura.surfrider.org.