Updated: May 11, 2021
2.3 million Cigarette butts are littered every minute.
I am Nawal Deep Dangwar from Kolkata. I have been socially inclined right from my childhood. I was a part of various organizations where I got experience working for weaker sections of the society. After my Post Graduation in Management, I was lucky enough to have more exposure living in Jharkhand while working with TATA TRUST as a program manager.
So I was talking about Cigarette Butts. Apart from being injurious to health, cigarette butts can be found almost everywhere - littered, polluting water bodies and clogging drains. But there is little realization that cigarette waste - especially the cigarette butts or filters is a huge environment hazard.
These butts are made up of synthetic polymer called Cellulose Acetate, a kind of Non-biodegradable plastic that takes around 10-15 years to fully decompose and is extremely Harmful to the environment. One cigarette butt in approximately 2 gallons of water is lethal to small crustaceans.Cigarette butts have been found in fish, birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures who mistake the butt of a cigarette for food.
Most cigarette butt pollution occurs at ‘Transition Points’ – areas where a smoker must extinguish their cigarette before proceeding.
Since January 2019, I started working on minimizing Pollution. Our Initiative is called ‘WASTEWHEEL’. We are a waste management solution provider, we wish to spread awareness and promote the idea of sustainable future through product and services.
Currently we are running a project where we wish to understand cigarette butts as a waste, how can it be stopped from littering on the streets, rivers. For which we have butts bins specifically designed for collection and segregation of the accumulated wastes. Further, we ship it to Code Enterprises for free- Code Enterprise is a waste management company based in Delhi, India
with whom we recycle our cigarette waste. They reuse it to make innovative products. Currently, we are operating at few pubs/restaurants across the city for our collection.
We do R&D on creating products which would help in segregation of waste at the point source. We sell these reusable pocket ashtrays to people who smoke, and helps us recycle them. These are called pocket ashtray. We are also spreading awareness, promoting individual activities, and empowering future generation, through workshops on wastes. On that note, did you know every year more than 100,000 marine creatures die from plastic entanglement?
Roughly half of plastics are made to be used once and then discarded.
Cigarette Butts are the #1 trash item found in the streets and contrary to common belief, they are NOT biodegradable.
Why it is socially accepted to throw Cigarette Butts on the ground anyway?
Recycling makes us feel less guilty but it doesn’t change how huge our plastic problem is. Here is a silver lining though! Ragpicking has a positive impact on urban spaces with a weak waste management infrastructure. In India, the economic activity of ragpicking is worth about ₹3200 crore. India was also found to have a near-90% recycle rate for PET bottles, which could probably be attributed to ragpicking, given a lack of solid-waste management and under-developed waste collection and recycling culture in those Ragpickers.
Let’s say no to our "Throwaway" culture and demonstrate a more sustainable way. If you can't reuse it, refuse it.
Join us in our mission!