Butt Collectors

buttbinI saw my first butt collector yesterday on Granville Street. The City of Vancouver launched the cigarette butt recycling program last fall in partnership with TerraCycle. United We Can employees empty all the receptacles, but then the materials are shipped to Toronto to be shredded, separated and recycled at TerraCycle’s facility. So not exactly carbon neutral. The leftovers are turned into plastic pellets, but first they have to go through a gamma radiation process to nuke the contaminants. So cigarettes are full of toxic materials, and gamma rays are biologically hazardous—maybe they cancel each other out then and everything gets neutralized in the process? Sounds as hazardous as smoking, but at least the butts aren’t leaching into our greenest city soils. The plastic pellets are then made into other products by various manufacturers. More details here.

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