SANTA FE, N.M. -- Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. (SFNTC) has teamed up with TerraCycle Inc., a developer of solutions for hard-to-recycle materials, to do something about cigarette butt litter. With funding from SFNTC, TerraCycle is launching a national program to collect and recycle cigarette waste.
The Cigarette Waste Brigade will divert used cigarette butts from landfills. By sponsoring this program, SFNTC is not only taking responsibility for the end-life of its products, but also for the products of its competitors, it said.
"You don't have to walk or drive very far to see that smokers often discard cigarette waste in ways that litter the environment. Our company has been committed to environmental sustainability since we were founded 30 years ago, and we're proud to be the exclusive sponsor of an innovative program to reduce and recycle cigarette butt litter, regardless of which manufacturer made the cigarettes," said Cressida Lozano, the head of sales and marketing for SFNTC.
"The Cigarette Waste Brigade has the potential to transform public spaces across the country, drastically reducing the amount of litter that is discarded," said TerraCycle CEO and founder Tom Szaky. "Furthermore, the Cigarette Waste Brigade will provide a solution for the filters that are properly disposed of in an ashtray or can, but today still end up in a landfill."
Cigarette filters (and other related tobacco waste) are the No. 1 item recovered during the annual Ocean Conservancy's International Coastal Cleanup Day, with more than 52 million cigarette filters collected from beaches in the past 25 years. They are a source of litter in a variety of public outdoor spaces, including sidewalks, roadways, parks, shopping malls and office buildings.
In 2009, a Keep America Beautiful study found that cigarette waste accounted for 38% of all U.S. roadway litter. Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and do not break down quickly. The cigarette waste collection program will make this pervasive waste recyclable for the first time.
To participate in the Cigarette Waste Brigade, interested individuals can visit www.terracycle.com to sign up for free. They can collect filters normally in receptacles such as ashtrays, then bag the waste in any plastic bag--which gets recycled as well--before being placed in a shipping box. Once the collect enough waste they log into their account and print a free prepaid UPS shipping label to return their box at no cost.
Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle is an international upcycling company that takes difficult-to-recycle packaging and turns it into affordable, products.
Santa Fe, N.M.-based SFNTC, a unit of Reynolds American Inc., Winston-Salem, N.C., manufactures Natural American Spirit additive-free, natural tobacco cigarettes and roll-your-own (RYO) tobaccos, which include styles that are made with 100% organic tobacco as well as 100% U.S. grown tobacco.
In other company news, the Reynolds American Foundation is donating $140,000 to the American Red Cross to help provide relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
"Our thoughts are with the folks who are having to endure such hardships as a result of the devastating storm," said John S. (Tripp) Wilson, president of the foundation. "Our hope is that this donation will support continued relief efforts for the people and communities affected by Hurricane Sandy."