Unsmoke Canada and TerraCycle partner to reduce cigarette waste nationwide
Unsmoke Canada and TerraCycle are launching a multi-year, community-based recycling partnership to collect and recycle the world's most littered item: cigarette butts.
In Canada, an estimated 8,000 tonnes of cigarette butts are littered each year, the majority within three metres of an ashtray. Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are non-biodegradable and contain filters made from cellulose acetate, which can take up to 15 years to decompose. The free, national Unsmoke Cigarette Recycling Program will aim to divert hundreds of thousands of butts each month from the ground and landfills.
The new partnership builds on the work Unsmoke Canada began in 2019 to combat littering in local communities. A pillar of Unsmoke Canada is to reduce smoking and, consequently, the effect it has on people, on communities and on the environment.
"We want to build a smoke-free future, which is a future without cigarettes. This has an impact not only on people but also on communities and on the environment. This partnership is an example of how we are making tangible and measurable improvements to the problem of cigarette butt littering," said Vasie Papadopoulos, Communications Manager at Rothman's Benson & Hedges, the company which started Unsmoke Canada. "We are looking forward to working with TerraCycle and communities to help clean up and appropriately recycle cigarette litter."
All cigarette butts collected through the Unsmoke Cigarette Recycling Program will be shipped to TerraCycle for recycling. When processed, the paper and tobacco are separated from the filter and composted. The filter is then recycled into plastic pellets which can be used by manufacturers to create products such as shipping pallets, ashtrays and park benches.
Through the cigarette recycling program, Unsmoke Canada intends to expand on TerraCycle's efforts, which since the conception for the program in 2012, has collected over 155 million cigarette butts, engaged more than 5,000 collection points across Canada and distributed in excess of 1,550 cigarette butt recycling receptacles across ten provinces.
"TerraCycle's cigarette recycling programs have already had great success across Canada," said Tom Szaky, Founder and CEO of TerraCycle. "This partnership with Unsmoke Canada will create even more opportunities for Canadians to dispose of their cigarettes in a responsible way, helping to keep shorelines, sidewalks and communities clean."
"The message of Unsmoke Canada is clear - if you don't smoke, don't start. If you smoke, quit. If you don't quit, change," said Papadopoulos. "Unsmoke Canada is committed to a smoke-free future, one without cigarettes. That starts by getting Canadians to butt out entirely - and to clean the streets of cigarette litter. This partnership is about creating a smoke-free and waste-free future."