Recycle Your Butts: Toronto’s Pilot Project Against Cigarette Butt Litter

Your cigarette butts are doing more harm than you may think

Smokers tossing their cigarette butts on streets and sidewalks are not only an eyesore but have become an environmental hazard in Toronto. With most of the litter ending up in Lake Ontario, the toxins in the butts pollute the water and can be harmful to fish, birds and other wildlife.

1297717408017_ORIGINALU.S.-based environmental company TerraCycle and the Out of This World Cafe at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health are teaming up to solve this problem: four receptacles have been mounted on street poles around the intersection of Queen St. and Lower Ossington Ave.

The bins will be periodically emptied and the butts will be recycled into plastic lumber and shipping supplies. It’s just a start, but according to the café’s owner Warren Hawke, they’re just going to “start with our little corner.”

According to last year’s litter audit, cigarette butts were the second most common small litter item, after chewing gum. Toronto Councillor Mike Layton is hopeful about “giving people a more convenient option” than throwing their butts on the ground, only to end up in a landfill.

(Main Photo by Torstar News Service)

(Photo by Kevin Connor via Toronto Sun)