Delhi University students to recycle cigarette butts

The Asian Age.  | Sushmita Ghosh

Metros, Delhi

The team has around seven female and four male rag pickers as their beneficiary target group, who are paid for collecting the cigarette butts.

Delhi University (Photo: Asian Age)

New Delhi: Students of Sri Venkateswara College of Delhi University’s have taken up an initiative of recycling cigarette butts, considered to be the most littered waste in the world. Enactus SVC, through its project “CiggB”, will collect and recycle cigarette butts. Apart from saving the environment, the process will also generate wages for the poor.

The team has around seven female and four male rag pickers as their beneficiary target group, who are paid for collecting the cigarette butts. So far, over 75 kg of cigarette butts from Delhi and NCR have been collected. “Physically speaking, cigarettes are composed of more than cotton and tobacco nestled inside a paper wrapper. This is a common misconception and, if it were the case, perhaps a cigarette butt could more easily degrade naturally in nature,” Enactus SVC said.

According to the department of environmental regulation, Annual Litter Survey (2015), the most common form of litter is cigarette butts. It is estimated that roughly 4.5 trillion cigarettes around the world end up as litter every single year. “It is the physical composition of the cigarette that makes half the trouble for the environment. The chemical composition of a cigarette is the other half of the problem for the planet. The filter in most cigarettes designed to protect smokers from harmful chemicals is actually a type of plastic called Cellulose Acetate, which pollutes the environment and especially aquatic ecosystems. The solution to this massive problem of cigarette disposal is our project CiggB,” it added.

As a part of the initiative, cigarette butts go through a process after the collection, where paper from the butts is used to make compost. The main material “cellulose acetate” goes through the process of cleaning and separating of toxic chemicals present in the butt. Once the new cigarette butt gets ready, it is re-used in stuffing of products.

like mattresses, stuff toys among others. The project is being carried out in association with Conserving Our Depleting Environment (CODE) and Social Offline.