Angela Rodriguez |Staff Writer|
According to Victorian Litter Action Alliance, an estimated 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year.
Since our government legislation in the mid-2000s implemented smoking restrictions in public buildings and restaurants, the issue of cigarette butt litter has increased.
CSUSB students can help reduce cigarette butts and other tobacco-related waste by joining TerraCycle Inc.’s Cigarette Waste Brigade, a free program dedicated to reducing litter.
Upon participating in the program, for every pound of cigarette butts CSUSB collects, a dollar will be donated to Keep America Beautiful.
According to a Cigarette Waste Brigade, cigarette butts are the most littered item, and account for 32 percent of outdoor litter.
TerraCycle, Inc. is an internationally recognized up and coming company that recycles challenging packaging materials into economical and creative products.
“The Cigarette Waste Brigade will provide a solution for the filters that are properly disposed of in an ashtray or can, but today still end up in a landfill,” said TerraCycle CEO and Founder Tom Szaky.
Thus far, the program has collected hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts and expects to rise with our campus’ participation.
Cigarette butts are made from fibrous material created to trap tar and other toxic chemicals before they reach the lungs of a smoker.
Each butt is comprised of tobacco, paper and a filter, but the residues in the butts contain toxic, soluble chemicals – chemicals that add to the environment’s pollution.
The program aims to make the cigarette butts recyclable for the first time since they are not biodegradable and do not break down quickly.
“This is one of the most exciting developments in TerraCycle’s history,” Szaky says. “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!”
Currently, TerraCycle has prevented more than two billion pieces of food and beverage packaging and along with other waste from going to the landfill and with its partners, dispersed more than $3.5 million to charity through its various Brigade programs.
Founded in 2001, the company is now the world leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste.
The corporation is currently also creating solutions for other challenging items to recycle, like discarded, disposable diapers and used chewing gum.
Filters can be collected normally in receptacles then placed in any plastic bag before being placed in a shipping box.
Once enough waste is collected, collectors log into their account and print a free prepaid UPS shipping label to return their box at no cost.
Students interested in the program can visit www.terracycle.com to sign up for the program.