Local non-profit recycles every day litter for industrial products

Wilmington, NC (WWAY)– A Wilmington non-profit that focuses on the environment has come up with a unique way to reduce litter and improve recycling efforts in New Hanover County.   

Keep New Hanover Beautiful has taken up a project that includes collecting and recycling cigarette butts. Cigarette butts are the number one source of litter across Wilmington, as well as around the world. 

Dick Brightman, President and Executive Director, says that while devices to collect used cigarettes have been around for a while, those discarded butts still end up in landfills. But, they’re using special canisters in hopes of changing that. 

“We give those to organizations. We install them, we service them, and replace them if the weather has beaten them up so much where we can’t use them anymore, and that’s the primary means of collecting our cigarette butt filters.   

Once the cigarette butts are collected in the canisters, they are sent off to a company in New Jersey called Teracycle. Teracycle then separates the paper, tobacco, and filters.  The paper and tobacco are composted, and the filters broken down in an eight-step chemical process so that they can be used in wood manufacturing products such as decking and furniture.   

A product created by Teracycle was actually sent to Keep New Hanover Beautiful to be enjoyed locally.   

“The picnic table weighs 700 pounds, it’s 8 feet long, and it’s a monster. It’s made out of recycled filters. It is now sitting in the beer garden of Wrightsville Beach Brewery. So, we are happy for that.”  

  Keep New Hanover Beautiful is #8 in the nation for organizations collecting and recycling cigarette butts. They have collected almost two-thousand pounds, or two million units, of them since Spring of 2017.  

Keep New Hanover Beautiful is always trying to expand their program, and have plenty of canisters that need homes. If your business is interested, you can send them an email at keepnhcbeautiful@gmail.com. 

Categories: Local, New Hanover, What’s Happening