Students at an engineering school in Melbourne recently published a study experimenting with a new form of managing and recycling this particularly invasive waste.
It is estimated that 5.7 billion cigarette butts are consumed in the world each year. In addition, the materials contained in these tips – especially cellulose acetate filters – can be extremely harmful to the environment due to their poor biodegradability.
The RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) study experimented with adding cigarette butts to clay bricks for construction. Such a measure would reduce the energy consumption of the production process of bricks and also decrease their thermal conductivity.
Several methods seem to work, whether pre-shredded cigarette butts are incorporated into clay used to make bricks, or even adding them as such.
With the implementation of this new form of recycling, the brick manufacturing industry, and the architecture and construction sector in general, could contribute significantly to a great reduction in the environmental impact of cigarette butts.