Event Title

Cigarette Recycling Program Proposal to Reduce Environmental Impact of Cigarette Butts at SAN

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Yearly, around 6 trillion cigarettes are sold globally, and 4.5 trillion of these end up littered in the environment. As cigarettes end up in the landfill or in the environment, they continue to be harmful as they leach toxins into water ways and the cellulose filters can take more than 10 years to biodegrade. To reduce the environmental impact of cigarette butt waste at the San Diego International Airport (SAN), a pilot study was implemented for a cigarette recycling program. As part of the pilot study, cigarettes were collected from a specific smoking area for a month and shipped to a recycling company (TerraCycle). The number of cigarettes shipped per week was recorded and by the end of the pilot program 17,000 cigarette butts (17 pounds) had been collected. Before the pilot rollout, three different program scenarios were assessed, which included collection only, collection and new cigarette receptacles, and collection and new cigarette receptacles with marketing content advising passengers to recycle their butts rather than litter. The first scenario was ultimately chosen to assess the effectiveness of the collection and shipping procedure, and if successful the other scenarios would be explored. The effectiveness of the proposal and implementation of the cigarette recycling program at SAN was successful in decreasing the volume of discarded cigarette butts to the environment. Further implementation of this pilot program at SAN as well as other municipal airports will be discussed, as well as the potential environmental benefits of these programs.

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Cigarette Recycling Program Proposal to Reduce Environmental Impact of Cigarette Butts at SAN

Yearly, around 6 trillion cigarettes are sold globally, and 4.5 trillion of these end up littered in the environment. As cigarettes end up in the landfill or in the environment, they continue to be harmful as they leach toxins into water ways and the cellulose filters can take more than 10 years to biodegrade. To reduce the environmental impact of cigarette butt waste at the San Diego International Airport (SAN), a pilot study was implemented for a cigarette recycling program. As part of the pilot study, cigarettes were collected from a specific smoking area for a month and shipped to a recycling company (TerraCycle). The number of cigarettes shipped per week was recorded and by the end of the pilot program 17,000 cigarette butts (17 pounds) had been collected. Before the pilot rollout, three different program scenarios were assessed, which included collection only, collection and new cigarette receptacles, and collection and new cigarette receptacles with marketing content advising passengers to recycle their butts rather than litter. The first scenario was ultimately chosen to assess the effectiveness of the collection and shipping procedure, and if successful the other scenarios would be explored. The effectiveness of the proposal and implementation of the cigarette recycling program at SAN was successful in decreasing the volume of discarded cigarette butts to the environment. Further implementation of this pilot program at SAN as well as other municipal airports will be discussed, as well as the potential environmental benefits of these programs.