UK-Wide Cigarette Waste Recycling Programme Launched

A scheme that will for the first time provide people across the UK a way to recycle cigarette butts and associated smokers’ waste has been launched today (28 September). 

The Cigarette Waste Brigade® scheme will see cigarette related litter – including butts, cigar butts, ash, used and unused cigarette filters, rolling paper, inner foil packaging and outer plastic packaging – recycled into a variety of useful plastic products, such as delivery pallets, with any remaining tobacco or paper being composted. 

Tom Szaky, TerraCycle – “Thanks to the support of JTI the Cigarette Waste Brigade® has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of cigarette waste that is littered”

The initiative is the result of a partnership between TerraCycle and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) and aims to provide the motivation for people across the UK to help to clean up their communities by diverting the billions of cigarette butts, which currently end up in waste bins and landfills or in many cases litter on UK streets, parks and beaches.

Smokers’ materials, including cigarette butts, are the UK’s most commonly occurring items of littercomprising 35.2% of the total litter.

Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and do not break down quickly. This new cigarette collection programme aims to make this highly visible and pervasive waste recyclable in the UK for the first time.

Reusable Materials

All the waste sent in from Cigarette Waste Brigade® participants across the UK goes to TerraCycle’s warehouse, where it is stored until there is enough cigarette butts and the other types of waste to process it into reusable materials. The filters, the foil, and the plastic packaging are recycled into plastic pellets and leftover rolling paper and tobacco will be composted.

Any group, workplace, public location, council or individual over the age of 18 can sign-up to the Cigarette Waste Brigade® at to collect cigarette waste and send it to TerraCycle for free.

click to enlarge

TerraCycle CEO and Founder, Tom Szaky comments: “Thanks to the support of JTI the Cigarette Waste Brigade® has the potential to drastically reduce the amount of cigarette waste that is littered. At the same time it also provides a recycling solution for cigarette butts that have been properly disposed of in an ashtray but before the launch of this new cigarette waste recycling solution would have ultimately ended up in landfill anyway.”

Charlie Cunningham Reid, Head of Corporate Affairs at JTI comments: “We are doing this to support and encourage smokers to make the responsible choice of recycling their cigarette waste. Ultimately, this should also help to reduce the number of cigarette butts that are littered in communities around the UK.”

Szaky adds: “Both TerraCycle and JTI encourage people across the UK to sign up to the Cigarette Waste Brigade® and to approach workplaces and public places with designated smoking areas in your communities to sign up as well. Pubs, bars, restaurants, shopping centres, train stations, airports and even local councils are exactly the sort of places that should be encouraged to sign up and recycle the cigarette waste that is being generated on their premises.”

TerraCycle launched in the UK in September 2009 where it currently runs recycling programmes for biscuit wrappers, writing instruments, instant coffee packaging, baby food pouches, plastic air fresheners, air freshener refills, trigger heads and flip top caps from home cleaning products and flexible cleaning wipes packs, mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

To date in the UK TerraCycle has saved over 24mpieces of waste packaging from landfill, raising over £395,000 for charities and non-profit organisations.

JTI, a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, is a leading international tobacco manufacturer. It markets world-renowned brands such as Camel, Winston and Mevius. Other global brands include Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Sobranie, Glamour and LD. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and about 26,000 employees worldwide, JTI has operations in more than 120 countries.




Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *