Did you know that you can recycle one of the most consumed polluting products? I first heard about this campaign 2 years ago at an eco-friendly event in Argentina. The idea started with a group of advanced architecture students, who were concerned about the contamination of this waste; that, not only, is generated in huge quantities, but also, produces huge environmental pollution.
How to recycle cigarette butts?
In this case, the group of friends recycle the cigarette butts to create eco-bricks; more specifically, masonry bricks or thermo insulating plates.
The treatment of the material implies that the cigarette butts are bathed in an adhesive liquid; such as resin, polyurethane or vinyl, depending on the desired result. Then, they are pressed in a mold. Doing this, we can obtain a brick with excellent mechanical and technical behavior, waterproof and invulnerable to attack by fungi or bacteria; as acoustic plates, more flexible, in case they are required as a complement to other types of walls.
The thermal capacity is provided precisely by the cigarette filters, since they are composed of cellulose, while the impermeability and resistance are provided by pressing and incorporating additives.
The project: “Cigadrillo”
As we said, a group of 4 future architects (Antonio Ramírez, Lujan Fischer, Luciano Carrizo y Rodrigo Barbuscia) carried out the project in Rosario, Argentina.
Under the name of “Cigadrillo”, this purpose came to light; whose pillar is a program for the collection and recycling of cigarette butts and its awareness of the harmful effects it generates.
The name “Cigadrillo” came from the mixture of the words “cigarrillo” (cigarette in spanish) and “ladrillo” (brick in spanish). And became to be known in 2019 by their first appearance at an eco-friendly event.
Recycle together as society
I believe that one of the most interesting facts of this recycling project is that the whole society must commit itself to achieve grand results.
The people who sustain the project, had additionally the extraordinary plan of distributing special cigarette’s baskets throughout the city to facilitate the reach of all citizens. This implementation encourages people every day to recycle cigarette butts and, more importantly, make them feel closer to recycling.
These cylinder baskets were first placed at the universities, and later, in institutions; thanks to a subsidy from a government program, the Ingenia program. Now, there are also private companies that are joining to have a Cigadrillo Point. It is basically a collection place, only for cigarette butts, not other waste.
Cigarette butts’ recycle helps the planet vastly
As you may have already noticed, almost all cities are plagued with cigarette butts. You just need to get out of your house and you will quickly see it. Just look at the sidewalks. just look at the streets, just look round the corner. I bet that If you go for a walk through your neighbourhood you can find countless quantities of this waste.
In Rosario, for example,five out of 10 people are smokers. Every year 6 billion cigarettes are smoked around the world and, of these, 4.5 billion are deposited in public spaces. The numbers indicate that we need a radical change.
Several studies show that its polluting effect can last between 8 and 12 years, and some authors even affirm that it can reach up to 25 years. Each cigarette butt can contaminate between 8 and 10 liters of seawater and up to 50 liters if it is fresh water.
We all can start with small changes in our habits. These kinds of teams are giving excellent examples that we all could follow. The earth is screaming for help.