Tuesday, June 28, 2022

New Hanover organization in top 10 for cigarette butt recycling

Buckets of Butts: Each of these buckets holds approximately 8 lbs. of cigarette waste, or almost 8,000 individual butts. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Keep New Hanover Beautiful)
Each bucket holds approximately 8 pounds of cigarette waste, or almost 8,000 individual butts. (Courtesy Keep New Hanover Beautiful)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — For five years Keep New Hanover Beautiful has been recycling cigarette butts in the county — and from some neighboring counties — to help reduce waste and litter. The nonprofit organization ships butts to TerraCycle, a company that separates the tobacco from the paper and filters.

The filter is turned into plastic pellets that can be used by manufacturers for several products such as shipping pallets, ashtrays, and park benches. The tobacco is composted. 

READ MORE: New recycling program aims to keep your butts off Wilmington streets

According to KNHB’s Dick Brightman, to date the local chapter has recycled 1,560,000 butts — or 1,560 pounds. The output of the organization has it ranking in the top 10 across the country for its efforts, according to TerraCycle.

TerraCycle has reported that KNHB is number eight in the nation for entities that recycle discarded butts, including cities, cruise lines, and more,” Brightman said in a press release from KNHB.

Keep New Hanover Beautiful has almost 400 receptacles in New Hanover, along with 60 donated to other counties. It also gave 91 receptacles to the City of Wilmington to replace its aging canisters. Stations are located at the Wilmington International Airport, beach access points, UNCW, shopping centers, breweries and restaurants, among other places.

KNHB’s primary goal is to eliminate marine waste, as cigarette butts quickly make their way into coastal waters due to the high amount of littering of the product.

Terra Cycle collects millions of cigarette butts annually and has recycling programs that engages upward of 200 million people across 21 countries. The New Jersey-based country collects over eight billion non-recyclable pieces of waste.


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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