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Recycling cigarette butts; Good for Melbourne & the environment
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200,000 cigarette butts in Perspex (Credit: City of Melbourne)

The Council of the City of Melbourne is making big inroads into a worldwide litter problem, cigarette butts. The council is running a citywide program to recycle cigarette butts into plastic products such as street furniture, shipping pallets and ashtrays.

“We collect more than 200,000 cigarette butts each week from 367 cigarette butt bins across the city: litter that may otherwise end up being washed down drains and into the Yarra River,” Lord Mayor Robert Doyle AC said. “We have collected 1.2 million butts from around Melbourne’s universities and hospitals and busy CBD locations that can be recycled.”

The project sees a partnership between the City of Melbourne, Enviropoles who collect the cigarette waste and TerraCycle who recycle the waste. The project is being funded by the Victorian Government through their Litter Hotspots program.

To raise public awareness for the project, a Perspex box filled with around 200,000 cigarette butts was placed in Queensbridge Square on the banks of the Yarra River. “Cigarette butts are the most littered item in Australia. Butts are commonly mistaken for food by marine life and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures,” Chairwoman of the City of Melbourne’s Environment portfolio Councillor Cathy Oke said.

Studies have shown that recycling cigarette butts has the lowest effect on global warming compared with other disposal methods such as landfill and incineration. This initiative follows the example of other cities around the world including Vancouver in Canada and New Orleans in the United States. "Cities around the world are looking for new ways to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill," said Cr Oke.

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 14:09

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