A cigarette butt receptacle. Image via TerraCycle
In Park Slope, Brooklyn, the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District has moved forward with an initiative to install special cigarette receptacles along Fifth Avenue. The bins will collect cigarette and cigar butts, rolling paper, loose tobacco pouches, filters, inner and outer package foiling and ash (cardboard cigarette boxes are not accepted).
The waste from the receptacles is collected by TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based company that specializes in recycling items that wouldn’t ordinarily be considered recyclable. The company works with different municipalities around the country and world to install receptacles in order to diversify waste streams.
Image via TerraCycle
Upon collection, the waste is sent to the Trenton facility where it is shredded and separated. The plastic (found in the filters) goes through a process of pelletization and extrusion (compressing and molding into recycle plastic products). It can later be shaped into items like pallets, which are used stabilize items being hoisted onto forklifts or cranes. The paper in a cigarette and the tobacco are recycled and composted, respectively.
“We do what we need to do by keeping the streets clean, and they’re doing what they need to do to save the environment,” Block by Block employee Paul Lotter told the Brooklyn Paper. Block by Block is an organization that maintains cleanliness on neighborhood streets, and Lotter was the one to propose the idea to the BID.
Two receptacles have already been placed in popular neighborhood spots, where butts are frequently discarded: the first is located outside two bars between 17th and 18th Streets, and the second is near a smoke shop between St. Marks and Prospect Places. The two receptacles are a part of a pilot program that Lotter hopes to expand to other neighborhoods in the borough.
Next, check out the NYC Sanitary Code That Bans Smoking and Spitting in Subways.