Week 4: Cigarette Butts

The UK fixed penalty fine for a littered cigarette butt is £75. It seems many people are taking their chance when around 200 million cigarettes are discarded daily in the UK alone.

Cigarette litter accounts for one in every five items collected on clean ups across the world ranking it number 1 on the most littered items list. Because of that, we really need to wonder, why is it happening and what can we do to stop cigarette litter completely.

Whether you smoke or not, nobody really enjoys cigarettes. Otherwise, we would probably take the time to put them in the ashtrays of our cars rather than throwing them out the window while driving or maybe we would place them in our pockets until we reach the next bin so that we can dispose of them properly. But why would we want to do that when we know they would ruin our clothes or make our clean cars smell bad? It makes more sense to throw them on the floor and make them somebody else’s problem doesn’t it?

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group of cigarette butts.

 

Cigarette litter is a huge threat to the environment; not just in terms of wildlife mistaking the butts for food and dying but also because cigarettes which have not been properly put out are the result of thousands of forests fires every year which are putting people, animals, livelihoods and everything in its path in serious danger.

The average cigarette weighs around 1 gram, that means the finished end weighs no more than .2 of a gram; when you consider this fact, it’s hardly surprising to think that billions of cigarette butts are making their way into our oceans, stream and rivers. This isn’t good for our health when you consider those toxins are coming through the taps we turn on. To think you tell your children the dangers of smoking when really they could be drinking the toxins every time we turn the tap on is rather worrying.

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There needs to be a serious change in the way we see cigarette litter. Clearly a £75 fine is not enough as people are still taking the chance daily as they know the probability of being cause is low.

While governments propose tax increase to help cure the cost of cleaning up litter, here are some effective initiatives that have been put in place to reduce cigarette litter which I think are more sustainable;

 

Cigarette pit falls

 

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www.nobutts.co.uk allowing people and companies to place these bins in common smoking areas.

 

Here, one company has started promoting cigarette reduction by creating bins which people and companies can place bins in common littered areas where people passing can throw their cigarettes? Seems ideal! You can still throw your cigarettes on the floor, but you are actually throwing them to be recycled rather than harming the environment, and you don’t even have to go out of your way!

 

 

Rewarding people who collect cigarette litter

 

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Would you be likely to give up some of your time if you could receive money for picking up littered cigarette ends? Many people across the world do this for free because they have a passion for outdoors and would like future generations to have the chance to see the outdoors like we can but other people would prefer a physical reward for their time.

That’s why Wellington City councillers in New Zealand introduced a scheme where people can collect littered cigarette butts, take them to a place to be weighed where they will cashed in people to do as they wish with their earnings.

From what I have read here, the scheme came about to reduce the amount of beggars in the inner city which seems quite unethical as it is a way of brushing a serious problem under the carpet. Saying that, I still like the concept and believe that corporations as well as other governments allowing this could create similar schemes to encourage a reduction in cigarette litter.

 

 

Cigarette poll bins

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Image showing a bin where smokers can vote their answer by disposing cigarettes properly.

Now this is my personal favourite. One clever company, BallotBin, have creatively made bins which have been designed as polls where people vote by placing their discarded cigarette butts. For me, I think this is a very clever of not only getting people to see the amount of cigarette butts that are discarded but it is also a clever way of stopping people to actually finish their cigarette and dispose of the butt in a fun way; hopefully next time that person who needs to discard their cigarette butt will do so correctly.

 

This week I have not created any particular item from cigarette butts however I have been in contact with my local MP who forwarded my message on to the Director of Environment and Leisure in my local town of Blackburn with Darwen; it is my aim to create bins that will promote cigarette litter by also asking people questions where people vote with their cigarette butts; I will intend to make these bins from littered aluminium cans rather than using new materials. I don’t want to make these though until I have places where I know they will be put to use; the director told me via e-mail that they will discuss my plans with the recycling officer and come back to me shortly so I look forward to that.

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Anyway, the next time you go to throw your butt on the floor, take 30 seconds to walk to the bin because chances are, there will be one close by.

Week 1 – Plastic containers 

Week 2 – Plastic Bags 

Week 3 – Plastic bottle caps (This coming Sunday I will use littered plastic bottle caps)

Week 4 – Cigarette butts 

Week 5 – Aluminium

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How did it come to this?

The reason why RestoreRevolution started.

Surely this isn’t normal? A baby monitor lizard going about their day through literally… a sea of trash!

For me, this is the photograph that made me want to change.

Rewind nearly two years and I left my job in England to go travelling so that I could learn new cultures, see new places and meet new people from around the world. The adventure didn’t disappoint and it’s everything I imagined; in fact, the trip has inspired me to start my first blog!

Travelling, it meant that 24 hours of each day belonged to me, I didn’t have work to contend with (unless I needed money) so it meant finding interesting things to do to occupy my time with, whether it be going to see some temples in Thailand or swimming with sharks down under. In this photo, my time was spent watching a baby monitor lizard go about his or her day jumping from rubbish… to dead fish… back to rubbish and so on, in the Chao Phraya river, Thailand.

litter in thailand

Litter is something that every single one of us can relate to; the other day, I read a fact that there will be more plastic in the ocean than there is fish by 2050. I’m not sure how they work that fact out but it seems really sad to imagine that because of consumerism, animals are suffering. For me, we can make a massive difference but more ownership should be put on businesses rather than the customers because it’s businesses that are creating and packaging the products me and you buy.

RestoreRevolution – An innovative company utilising waste materials to promote for a clean, healthy & sustainable future. FOR TODAY. FOR TOMORROW.

RestoreRevolution Logo

I hope you like the logo. Business has always been a passion for me and so has the outdoors. What better way to enjoy the two than combining them together; spending time in the outdoors to find waste materials I can somehow use to create handcrafted items that hopefully give more value than items which are mass produced by a robot, damage the environment and lack originality. Saying that, using waste materials may mean that some of the products I make do not have the straightest of edges or they may carry the odd scar here and there but for me that shows that these materials all have their own unique story.

The products are handcrafted partly from waste materials, the packaging is handcrafted from waste materials and this is a new art I am constantly improving to highlight the need for litter reduction to help our environment.

Please have a look around at my shop page, about page and remember to give the Facebook page a like to stay up to date with my blog posts.

M.P