Since Clean Up Australia Day in March this year, innovative recycling company TerraCycle has recovered one million cigarette butts for recycling. That’s probably a small fraction of the total, but imagine what they would be like all in one spot. Yuck!

Cigarette butts are the second most commonly littered item, and easily flushed into waterways, but now there is an incentive to collect them for recycling. Any group, workplace or individual over 18 can sign up to their Cigarette Waste Brigade, collect butts in their home or workplace, and send them to Terracycle via Australia Post (for free). TerraCycle then makes a donation to the community group or charity of the collector’s choice.

Chances are that you didn’t know cigarette butts can be recycled, but they can. TerraCycle sees that they are transformed into a variety of products including plastic shipping pallets and railway sleepers.

TerraCycle sets up programs to recycle waste streams that can’t go in council recycling bins, and in Australia these cover Nespresso capsules, cleaning, laundry and beauty product packaging and toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and oral care waste.


Cigarette butts find a better purpose in life | All images: supplied