Recycling Cigarettes for Cash

New York State may become the first state in the nation to offer its residents a bottle-bill-deposit type law for cigarettes. The propsed initiatives would require a small deposit upon purchase of cigarette packs and then pay out a return when the filters or “butts” are returned for recycling.

Queens Assemblyman Michael DenDekker proposed the new recycling program, which would have a one cent deposit and return for each cigarette.

While the concept might seem a bit strange, non-profit groups around the country have recently started working with recyclers who use cigarette filters for re-manufacturing purposes – receiving cash for every pound collected. Because of this, DenDekker believes there is a legitimate market for the unwanted butts that either end up in the trash or as road-side litter.

The New York Commissioner of Health would need to formally approve of the program, and a minimum of one redemption facility would need to be established in each county. Part of the initiative also includes an educational campaign geared to inform smokers about the dangers and environmental consequences of improperly disposed of cigarettes.

Similar to bottle bills, the idea could also reward ordinary citizens and groups with a cash incentive for redeeming cigarette butts that have been disposed of as litter.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: When it comes to managing waste and recycling, it always pays to be thinking “outside the box” and two steps ahead of your competition. Today’s crazy idea could very well become tomorrow’s reality!