Should Terracycle Partner with Tobacco Butts?

cigarette butt trash photo

TerraCycle's goal is singular: To solve the problem of waste. We have not taken positions on the products that we collect, similar to how recycling companies accept products of any brand that fit their capacity to recycle.

But here's where it gets interesting—We've been approached by a tobacco company to collect and turn cigarette butts into new eco-friendly products. What do you think? Is doing business with a cigarette company any different than any of the other companies whose waste we collect? Or is this somehow different? If so, how?

image credit: Luis FerrerOne could get knee deep in the ethical and moral quandaries that cigarettes conjure up, but to me, it's pretty simple. Cigarette butts are a massive waste stream—hundreds of billions a year! ┬áHave you noticed how many of them accumulate by the curb outside office buildings, clubs, anywhere the public gathers outdoors? Would you like that to disappear; to be reused for a positive purpose?

We could replace various ashtrays with cool collection devices and vehicles that would send them to us to be converted into something new. What ideas do you have for what they could be made into? You're a smart, creative bunch of people, bring on the ideas!

And get this: We could even divert the resulting significant collection donations to various anti-smoking charities. Definitely a case of positive reuse if I've ever seen one.

So here's the question: Should we partner and create a "butt brigade"?
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