Smoking is one of the most deadly habits one can have, yet the toughest one to let go off. But, how about the wastage we produce after smoking a cigarette? Is there any waste actually?
We smoke the whole tobacco part and of course, there’s not much of it left, as the rest is filter. But, yes! this part of the cigarette that is left is now recycled by the innovative students in Australia. They are collecting the buds and making the productive results out of it, well they are literally recycling the collected material.
Now, researchers have found that cigarette butts can be safely disposed of by sealing them up inside roads and paths, an advance that could not only solve a huge waste problem but would also be useful in reducing the urban heat island effect common in cities, though the heat problem differs in seasons.
We can imagine trillions of cigarette butts produced every year worldwide, with the most of them discarded into the environment, their composure and the materials involved in making them indicate that it easily takes ages to break down the toxic chemical load if released into creeks, rivers, and oceans.
With this study, it is confirmed that the butts carry certain materials like asphalt, or bitumen that are commonly used to surface roads and these cigarette butts can handle heavy traffic and also reduce thermal conductivity.
Abbas Mohajerani, senior lecturer at the RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia said, “I have been trying for many years to find sustainable and practical methods for solving the problem of cigarette butt pollution.”
Mohajerani whose team previously demonstrated recycling cigarette butts in bricks has also added, “Cigarette filters are designed to trap hundreds of toxic chemicals and the only ways to control these chemicals are either by effective encapsulation for the production of new lightweight aggregates or by the incorporation in fired clay bricks.”
The team encapsulated the cigarette butts with bitumen and paraffin wax to lock in the chemicals and prevent any leaching from the asphalt concrete. The encapsulated cigarette butts were mixed with hot asphalt mix for making samples, they explained in the study published in the journal of Construction and Building Materials, added that the encapsulated cigarette butts can be developed as new construction material which can be used in different applications and lightweight composite products.
More or less, over t six trillion cigarettes are produced every year, leading to more than 1.2 million tons of cigarette butt waste. These figures are expected to increase by more than 50 per cent by 2025, mainly due to an increase in world population, the study revealed, regarding this context, Mohajerani concluded that the findings can create a new construction material while ridding the environment of a huge waste problem.