We're two days away from April Fool's Day, but this is no early joke: you can even recycle cigarette butts in Seattle.
The Metropolitan Improvement District, a nonprofit that cleans streets and offers other services in downtown Seattle, has placed 15 cigarette recycling boxes where people can deposit their spent smokes. The butts will be shipped off to a warehouse in Hamilton, N.J., and be turned into industrial products, such as plastic pallets. Even the remaining tobacco is recycled as compost.
Smoking is relatively uncommon in Seattle with Men's Health once naming the city as one of the one of the top 10 smoke-free cities in the nation. But this doesn't mean that cigarette waste is uncommon here. It's a universal problem with cigarette butts the most littered item in the world, according to Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.
Now, though, the MID is trying to capitalize on Seattle's passion for recycling and composting to help clean up downtown.
The MID, which collects more than 2,200 gallons of trash downtown on any given day, is working with a company called TerraCycle to recycle the butts. The 14-year-old New Jersey company works with a variety of companies to collect difficult-to-recycle packaging and products and repurposes the material. The programs benefit different charities and other causes.
Funding for TerraCycle's cigarette butt recycling project comes from Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., which makes American Spirit cigarettes. For every pound of cigarette waste collected, TerraCycle and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co., donate $1 toward the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.