Recycling Cigarettes

This new product niche for recycling waste materials might be hard to imagine, but it’s true! The Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company, a New Mexico-based subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., the United State’s second-largest cigarette manufacturer, is forming a partnership with TerraCycle Inc. to recycle used cigarette butts into a material used in the manufacturing of railroad ties, park benches, and shipping pallets.

The Cigarette Waste Brigade, which is publicized through TerraCycle’s website, brings together individuals and trash-battling civic groups to spread the word about the importance of saving and collecting used cigarette butts. Groups can then send them collected materials to the company through a prepaid shipping envelope. According to the non-profit group, Keep America Beautiful, cigarette butts make up close to forty percent of all litter on our nation’s roads and highways.

The incentive for collection is that for every pound of cigarette butts sent to TerraCycle, the sender will receive credits that can be exchanged for a variety of charitable gifts, or can be used to make a donation to a charity of their choice.

TerraCycle will recycle the cigarette filters and used them to create pellets that can be used in creating a wide variety of products. It took close to two years for the company to develop and refine the process to recycle the cigarette filters, which are made of with a mixture of paper, ash, tobacco, and a cellulose acetate filter.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Cigarette smoking is a habit shared by many Americans but it only took one company to come up with a way to turn used cigarette butts into a recycled material that can be sold to manufacturers!