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Cigarette Recycling

2014 Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada

“Did you know that 4.5 trillion cigarettes are smoked a year worldwide and it takes 18 months to 10 years for a cigarette butt to decompose?” Alex Klasz noticed that his school had a lot of cigarette butts around the area where people smoke, and when he discovered how harmful these are to the environment, he wanted to make a change.

“Cigarette butts go from the grass and sidewalk to the drain for the street to the river where fish can eat and choke on butts. This means the hazardous chemicals in those cigarettes, such as cadmium, lead, arsenic, and hydrogen cyanide, enter our watershed.”

Alex also learned that cigarette butts can be recycled through a program called TerraCycle, but needed collection containers for his school so that students wouldn’t put their cigarette butts on the ground or in the garbage. Thanks to Nutrien, the school received an outdoor container for cigarette butts. Through the recycling program, the school also receives funds for cigarette waste. Alex plans to use those funds to purchase more containers so that the program continues.