Three brands that are changing the planet with the correct disposal of cigarette butts

Published on

July 24, 2023


Pile of cigarette butts
Did you know that cigarette butts are the most-littered item in the world?According to WHO (World Health Organisation), no less than 4.5 trillion are thrown away yearly.

 Ahead of Recycling Week and Recycling Month this autumn, we conducted a poll with ourLinkedIn followers to ask what you know about recycling cigarette butts and what the waste can be turned into when disposed of correctly. Well, the results are in, and it turns out that 71% know ‘nothing at all’.  

Luckily, there are an increasing number of ESG businesses helping to provide solutions for these incorrectly discarded products, while educating consumers on their disposal and potential. With a keen eye on businesses working towards a better future – such as BTV, the CVC arm of BAT – we round-up three of the brands unlocking the untapped power of cigarette butts.


The butt, as it were, stops here.  

1 IMEKO, the Chilean start-up that recently took part in the ESG Lab program by BTV, bills itself as ‘the experts behind the science of cigarette waste recycling’.Its chemists have developed a completely sustainable and revolutionary chemical process that eliminates the toxicity of cigarette butts and recovers the highly-valuable cellulose acetate. Completely free of toxic components, this recovered plastic can then be turned into a sustainable new material, reincorporating it into the economy of plastic materials.


2 Innovative recycling company TerraCycle, which claims to recycle the un recyclable’ and ‘eliminate the idea of waste’, offers a free recycling scheme for cigarette butts in the UK. Driven by the over consumption and throwaway culture that have led to a global waste crisis, the entrepreneurial organisation collaborates with businesses, government entities and individuals to keep rubbish out of landfills or from incineration. Its program specifically for cigarettes is simple: download a free shipping label, box your butts and send for recycling. At their end, these butts are cleaned and sterilised; the filters, paper and tobacco are separated; the filters are cleaned, melted and palletised; and the paper is recycled while the tobacco is composted. The palettes, from the filters, are combined with other plastic to create new products that can be used to make everything from fencing to gutters. It’s a second life for cigarette butts that would otherwise release harmful chemicals and toxins into the air or ocean while taking years to break down. And then, they never fully biodegrade.


3 LitterLotto partners with those who want a cleaner environment to reward the responsible binning of any litter– including cigarette butts – with regular prizes and spot jackpots from £5,000to £10,000. Offering consumers a free app to download via the AppStore orGoogle Play, the organisation runs a free-to-enter prize draw to incentivise the correct disposal of harmful products. People simply need to take a photo of themselves placing litter in a bin using #BinItToWinIt to be in with a chance of winning. Proof that sometimes the simplest idea can be the most effective. Available globally, the app is developed by a dedicated team of entrepreneurs that believes in the power of positive action and in technology’s ability to facilitate game-changing solutions.


But what can you do to help? People need to do their bit to reduce the impact of cigarette butts on the environment– something as simple as disposing of them in the bin instead of on the floor or in the sea – while the continued commitment and investment of ESG businesses and entrepreneurs are required to drive significant positive change.

We’re passionate about brands driving positive change. Get in touch if you’re a business working towards a better future.  


written by

Daniel Dagher

Founder and Client Director

Bray St.

Become a Bray St. brand and choose long-term success
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