A new initiative has been launched in New Orleans where cigarette butts are put to good use. The first of 50 receptacles for recycling cigarette butts were installed in the city center. The program's promoters say New Orleans is the first city in the country to participate in such a large-scale recycling initiative, launched last year in Canada.
TerraCycle Inc., is the company behind this great idea. According to TerraCycle, New Orleans will be paid $ 4 for every 0.5 kilos (pound) of cigarette butts collected. Organic materials such as tobacco and paper are processed as compost.
But the filter of cigarettes, although they look like fiber, is made of cellulose acetate, a plastic, so you have to grind it and eliminate toxins with gamma rays. It is the same process that is used with fish and meat to ensure that they do not have biocontaminants, so it is safe.
What contaminates a cigarette butt
The filters are then converted into plastic granules for industrial use, in the same way that bottles are recycled.
“We only use this granulate for industrial applications. We do not manufacture consumer products with this material, mainly due to the stigma of cigarette butts, "added a company official.