- Downtown STL Inc., along with TerraCycle and Progressive Waste Solutions, announced the installation of 62 cigarette butt-collection receptacles in St. Louis. The butts can be recycled to make plastics, and the tobacco can be composted.
- Each receptacle holds 800 cigarette butts, which is roughly equal to one pound. For each pound dropped in the bins, the Downtown St. Louis Foundation is expected to receive $1.
- Missy Kelley, a spokeswoman with Downtown STL, said Progressive Waste Solutions paid for the receptacles and Downtown STL installed them. They will be emptied once a week.
St. Louis' effort, touted as the first in the Midwest, is a good idea but needs more awareness. The Post-Dispatch noticed smokers walking right past the receptacles, including Stan Porter, 28, who didn't know the receptacles existed. "I wouldn’t mind using it," Porter said. "It wouldn’t take much of an effort."
Luckily, cleaning up cigarette waste is catching on across the nation. Keep America Beautiful reports that its Cigarette Litter Prevention Program reduces litter from cigarettes by 50%. Other cities with similar programs include New Orleans, Portland, ME, and Salem, MA.
TerraCycle's Albe Zakes said the company works with 10 North American cities, including Seattle. He said Vancouver has seen a 90% reduction in cigarette litter and is on pace to recycle 12 million cigarette butts a year using 100 receptacles.