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TerraCycle Canada launches first national collection and recycling program for cigarette waste
July 9, 2012 - TerraCycle, a world leader in recycling hard-to-recycle waste, ranging from food and beverage packaging to hospital waste, has taken its goal of "outsmarting waste" one step further with the launch of a free program to collect and recycle cigarette waste in Canada.
The Cigarette Waste Brigade program – in partnership with Canada’s largest tobacco manufacturer – will divert used cigarette butts, along with cigarette foil and plastic packaging waste, from landfills.
Cigarette filters were the number one item recovered during the annual Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup in 2011, with 351,238 collected. They’re a source of litter in a variety of public outdoor spaces, from parks to shopping malls to offices buildings. Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are non-biodegradable and do not break down quickly. This program will make this pervasive waste easily recyclable for the first time.
The waste collected through this free program will be recycled into plastic pallets for industrial use. By making pallets from recycled cigarette waste, TerraCycle will not only reduce the amount of litter in Canada, but also reduce the need to use wood or virgin plastic to make commonly used industrial pallets. The organic parts of the waste – the paper and remaining tobacco – will be composted.
“The Cigarette Waste Brigade has the potential to transform not only outdoor public spaces across Canada, but also the areas outside office buildings, restaurants and shopping malls,” says TerraCycle Canada General Manager, Luisa Girotto. “Furthermore, TerraCycle will provide a solution for the filters that are properly disposed of in a tray or can, but still end up in a landfill.”
“This is one of the most exciting developments in TerraCycle’s history,” says Toronto-native and TerraCycle Founder, Tom Szaky. “As a company committed to recycling waste streams that others deem worthless or unsavoury, cigarette waste will help to promote our belief that everything can and should be recycled.”
How does it work? It’s easy and free to participate in the Cigarette Waste Brigade. Anyone, whether a corporation, business, litter group, environmental organization or even an individual, can visit www.terracycle.ca to sign up for the Brigade. Everything but the recyclable cardboard box is accepted, including the filter, the aluminum and plastic packaging.
Filters can be collected in receptacles – like ashtrays – as usual. Collectors then deposit the waste in any plastic bag – like a shopping or sandwich bag – which gets recycled as well. Once enough waste is collected, participants log into their account and print a free prepaid UPS shipping label to return their box at no cost. Once TerraCycle Canada receives the shipment, the participant’s account will be credited with 100 points (equal to $1) per pound of waste received. The points can be used to purchase charity gifts or converted to cash for donation to a charity or non-profit of the collector’s choice.
TerraCycle has already kept more than two billion pieces of waste from going to the landfill, and with its partners, dispersed more than $3.5 million to charity through its various Brigade® programs. This newest Brigade program joins 13 others on offer in Canada. TerraCycle is currently creating solutions for other difficult-to-recycle but widely discarded waste streams, such as disposable diapers and used chewing gum.
For more information on how to sign up and send in waste, visit www.terracycle.ca.
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