Greenbutts Cigarette Filters Create Garden of Flowers From Discarded Butts

A cigarette butt on a brick ground.

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New patent-pending technology could turn cigarette butts into little flower pots. Or at least a seed dispersal system. Cigarette butts are a huge pollution problem, with people flicking their filthy filters all over the place. So what if those filters grew flowers? A new "all natural" cigarette, sporting filters packed with flower seeds so it can be either composted or literally planted to grow plants, hopes to counter the harmful effect cigarettes have on the environment. Gizmag points us to Greenbutts.

The company states, "Organic cotton and natural de-gummed hemp form the filter body. Wheat flour and pure water bind the filter elements as they are spun together. No chemicals or hidden additives.... Our filter is made of an all-natural hemp and cotton blend that can be combined with a wide variety of grass and flower seeds. Partner our product with additive-free tobacco and you have a true all-natural cigarette."

Cigarette butts are small, but they make up a surprisingly massive amount of trash, especially notices during coastal cleanups. EcoRI writes, "Smoking-related materials represented more than 30 percent of what was collected and disposed of by teams worldwide in 2008, according to the Ocean Conservancy's 2009 International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) report. The numbers are staggering. Globally, in 2008, ICC teams collected 3,216,991 cigarette filters on beaches and along coastlines and waterways. That number represented a whopping 28 percent, by weight, of all collected debris. Plastic bags ranked No. 2 at 12 percent."

Plus they're simply toxic, shown to have a fatal effect on fish.

So could a filter that sprouts into flowers be a good thing? Cigarette filters trap all sorts of unpleasant chemicals, keeping it out of our bodies but becoming toxic in the process. How that impacts the flower seeds, or if the flowers counter those toxins as it grows, is something we're curious about.

Perhaps Greenbutts should have embedded tree seeds - after all, around 600 million trees are destroyed every year just to provide fuel to dry tobacco, equating to about one tree killed per 300 cigarettes. Globally, tobacco curing requires 11.4 million tons of solid wood each year. Seems butts should be turned back into trees at every opportunity.

Greenbutts is certainly a compelling idea, if it works, and we're curious if they'll get their patent and if they'll be able to bring the product to market. Could it be a whole new eco-friendlier choice for greenies who need their smokes?