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.
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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