Belleville has just entered a partnership that can keep cigarette butts off the street and out of landfills.  “Cigarette butts are one of the most littered items in the world and they pose a real threat to our environment,” said Joseph Reid, general manager of transportation and operations services. “The plastic filters soak up chemicals, get tossed and release those chemicals – often into our waterways. By partnering with TerraCycle we’re proud to bring a sustainable solution to Belleville.”

TerraCycle is an international recycling company that finds innovative solutions for materials not typically accepted at municipal recycling facilities. The waste collected through the cigarette waste recycling program is recycled into a variety of industrial products, such as plastic lumber. Any remaining tobacco and paper is recycled as compost. In exchange for reducing cigarette waste, Belleville earns points for cigarette butts sent to TerraCycle, and can later redeem these points as a cash donation to any nonprofit organization.

“Every year, billions of cigarette butts end up in dumpsters and landfills, or get tossed as litter on shorelines, parks, and sidewalks across Canada,” said TerraCycle CEO Tom Szaky. “We give a big ‘thank you’ to the more than two thousand locations that have helped us collect over 105 million cigarette butts through this recycling program.”

Belleville’s cigarette recycling has been coordinated by the City’s Green Task Force and community advocates for waste reduction. There are currently three butt disposals, located throughout the downtown area at Century Village, The Duke’s Pub and the Catherine Street footbridge gazebo. There will also be two more installed soon at the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre.

Councillor and Green Task Force chairman Egerton Boyce is excited to see another green program implemented in Belleville. “It’s a great intitative the city is doing, we’re starting off with a few containers and we’re hoping the people will participate, put their cigarette butts in there so we can send them off to TerraCycle and they can send us back a dollar per pound. We’re hoping to get participation eventually from the restaurants and other individuals who perhaps have butts at home. This is a great initiative for the environment, so we’re starting small with the city and we’re hoping to expand to include private industries as well.”

“We’re starting with five and we’ll iron out any of the kinks and then we’re going forward,” Boyce said. “It’s not just for the environment, but has a secondary effect of keeping the streets cleaner. The city is going to be able to take that money and put it towards an environmental project, whether that’s tree seedling giveaways or any other green initiative like plastic lumber of park benches for instance. It’s a win-win situation and we’re picking up the butts from the containers and we’re getting paid for it.”

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