Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New Orleans putting smoked butts in a better place

In New Orleans, discarded butts are being turned into something useful.

The first of 50 cigarette butt recycling receptacles was installed at a downtown intersection Monday. Developers of the program say New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort launched in Canada last year.

Recycling company TerraCycle Inc. of Trenton, N.J., developed the program in 2012. The first citywide receptacles were placed in Vancouver, British Columbia, in November.

"Globally we have collected 25 million butts since November of 2012," said spokesman Albe Zakes, adding that the company is in talks with officials in Toronto; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo; Phoenix; and Atlantic City, N.J.

Officials with the New Orleans Downtown Development District said joining the program was a no-brainer. Smokers flock to curbside trash bins and public benches for nicotine fixes, and smoking is still allowed in bars that do not serve food. The downtown area is just blocks from the French Quarter and is home to the huge Harrah's Casino.

That adds up to a lot of cigarette butts.

District president and CEO Kurt Weigle said a one-day sweep in 2011 turned up nearly 7,000 cigarette butts downtown.

TerraCycle said New Orleans will be paid $4 for each pound of cigarette waste collected.

The organic materials, such as tobacco and paper, are composted. Cigarette filters, though they look and feel like fiber, are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic. Once collected, they are shredded and bio-toxins removed with the use of gamma radiation, Zakes said.

The filters are then melted into plastic pellets for industrial use in the same way a plastic bottle would be recycled, Zakes said.

"We only use the pellets for industrial applications, such as plastic lumber and plastic shipping pallets," he said. "We don't make any consumer products from this material, mostly because of the stigma around butts."

Richard McCall, a New Orleans official, shows a cigarette butt recycling receptacle installed at a downtown intersection.

Associated Press

Richard McCall, a New Orleans official, shows a cigarette butt recycling receptacle installed at a downtown intersection.

New Orleans putting smoked butts in a better place 07/21/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:34am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs defensive end Chris Baker (90) is seen during training camp last month at One Buc Place. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  2. Bucs' defensive attributes in opener included flexibility

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It's a blink-and-you-miss-it nuance, but in Sunday's opener against Chicago, on their very first defensive snap, the Bucs lined up in a 3-4 defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shakes hands with cornerback Brent Grimes (24) before an NFL game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  3. Along the Alafia River, the grateful extend a hand to the Irma-sodden weary

    Hurricanes

    LITHIA — The things that make a house a home dried in the afternoon sun Thursday in a front yard on Williams Street.

    Volunteers from FishHawk Fellowship Church helped Brian Hood (left) clean up debris from his yard in Valrico, Fla. Last week the Alafia River reached a depth of almost 23 feet, about 10 feet above its flood stage. Many homes were damaged, some became uninhabitable. Hood's home is 6 inches above Lithia Pinecrest Road, and did not sustain flood damage, though not all of his neighbors were as lucky.   [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  4. What to watch this weekend: 'Star Trek: Discovery,' 'DuckTales' returns

    Blogs

    Boldly go: Star Trek: Discovery

    It's been more than 50 years since the original Star Trek premiered, but the new CBS series is set 10 years before Kirk and Spock. Star Trek: Discovery explores the war between the Federation and the Klingons while following the USS Discovery, an exploratory …

    Sonequa Martin-Green in Star Trek: Discovery on CBS.
  5. First lady Melania Trump heads to White House garden for planting, harvesting

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — Melania Trump is heading out to the White House garden to do some planting and harvesting.

    First lady Melania Trump picks peppers with a girl with the Boys and Girls Club of Washington in the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Washington. [Andrew Harnik | Associated Press]