What can we do about our cigarette waste problem?
Image credit: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/plastic-straw-ban-cigarette-butts-are-single-greatest-source-ocean-n903661
- Simply banning the filters. There has been no proof that the filters provide any health benefit to smoking, contrarily, all it seems to achieve is making smoking less harsh, therefore promoting more smoking. This has been attempted without any success around the world.
- TerraCycle has a program where you can ship your recycled cigarette butts to them for free using printable stamps, they then donate a specified amount to charity for every pound of cigarettes recycled. This has been successful to a certain degree, but not enough to even make a dent in the cigarette waste problem of the world.
- Changing the material of the filters seems like an obvious solution, companies like Greenbutts have been working on viable, biodegradable alternatives, but this has also not caught on, presumable it alters the taste of the cigarettes, or it is too expensive to make, making it unattractive to cigarette manufacturers.
- Fumo has come up with a more creative approach to get people to dispose of their cigarette butts properly, they claim to be having some success but considering the scope of the problem, I believe the novelty will wear off fast.
- Another solution that seems obvious, but has not been able to get off the ground despite numerous efforts around the world, is a deposit law, similar to bottle deposits. In essence, consumers would pay a specified amount deposit on every pack they buy, this would encourage them to return all the cigarette butts from that pack, in order to receive their deposit back, while at the same time funding cleanup programs from the unclaimed deposits.