Butt, Who cares?

buttI do! Well I do every time I go outside to walk my dog or hopping out of the car, visiting a recreation area… What am I talking about? The litter and lack of proper disposal of Cigarette Butts! Yes they are the number one item worldwide that is littered about (1 in 5 collected trash items), toxic to the environment, they are not bio-degradable… well not in a way that is good for the environment or doesn’t poison our world.

But what to do about the butts? I pick them up off the street every day thinking at least they wont end up in the storm drain and out to the ocean or to contaminate water… but I think I just made a pit stop. How to educate and do something about it?

Apparently if you want let a friend know they are toxic to the environment, an email can be sent to them. You just enter your friend or co-workers e-mail address and a letter is sent to them. But, that I think would be ignored, unless you know they really do care about the environment and just are misinformed about their butts?

So how exactly do I safely dispose of butts, the ones I pick up? I found an article by Recycle Nation and apparently there are programs set up to address this. This article has a link where it further tells you how to collect the butts and a link that will allow you print out a UPS label and ship them to a fantastic company called TerraCycle.com and of course I was having trouble with the link they provided (probably because the program was launched in the UK in 2009, and pages and programs change, and it isn’t available to me here)… but I found there are others articles and companies like this one through Fusion … just google cigarette recycling and find one that will work for you. In fact the link I provided for the Fusion article about butt recycling has some very disturbing facts about cigarettes. Apparently one thing they make from these butts after they have been sterilized and shredded are shipping pallets, which has to be a butt load of butts. See what I did there?

I don’t know where you are, but shipping trucks and cargo containers of freight is what bustles about in my world. It seems this would be a fantastic way to reduce, reuse, recycle and they are sterilized before being shredded to be re-purposed… and apparently there isn’t  anything they have found that they can’t figure out a way to recycle and reuse (that TerraCycle company I mean). That’s amazing to me. I don’t think our waste management has gone this far here. In fact given that they put out a newsletter of what they do, and what can and can’t be recycled, and where all that rubbish will be laid to rest before it makes it’s way in to contaminating the ground which then breaks down into tiny bits that float down stream into the oceans, kills poor life that thinks it is food… this is that part where my brain rambles on.

It’s highly unlikely the wheel of tobacco will stop the butt madness or that consumers that insist on continuing it’s success won’t have to financially pay some arbitrary taxes that supposedly helps foot the bill for the clean-up of 4.5 trillion of 6 trillion cigarette butts that end up as litter yearly (those are current numbers by the way… also 37% of roadway trash/debris are cigarette butts). 1 cigarette but can contaminate 1 Liter of water, so if nothing else happens we contaminate 4.5 trillion liters of water every year… I digress again…. Butt, I continue… I honestly think those funds do nothing in the way of cleaning up their impact. Perhaps some recycling or just some way to dump it in a hole somewhere… or accidentally sweep it away.

So perhaps a program exists where you are, and you can participate and share that knowledge? I think I will have to see if I can get a pilot program started where I am. You would think being on the west coast I could find one in place somewhere that someone has started… if it isn’t obvious to my fantastic search engine skills than it isn’t obvious to anyone, especially those leaving butts about like they are desirable organic decorations for the earth of my world. So off I shall go, to find a way to contain Butts! More programs need to exist, in reality everywhere in my opinion… and here on my rambling blog, it’s my world and I will transform it as I see fit people! By people I mean me, since I think I am the only one that will be hearing my own ramblings.

The CEO of TerraCycle talked a bit about cigarette butts

What I need to find out about are getting these cigarette recycling stations… what that would take to start that process here, and of course how to have those stations emptied and those butts processed into things like park benches, or maybe picnic tables…