The Toxicity and valorization options of cigarette butts


Cigarette butts, one of the most abundant forms of waste in the world, contain more than 4000 toxic chemicals and pose serious risks to the health of wildlife, humans, and marine and freshwater organisms. Although trivial in size, trillions of cigarettes are produced every year worldwide, resulting in the accumulation of tonnes of toxic waste litter. In 2016, a world production of over 5.7 trillion cigarettes was reported with the majority comprising cellulose acetate filters – a polymer with poor biodegradability. Depending on the environmental conditions, cellulose acetate filters can take up to 10 years to decompose during which time they leach heavy metals and toxic chemicals into the environment. Although possible disposal methods for collected cigarette butt waste include incineration and landfilling, both techniques may result in the release of hazardous fumes and can be costly. However, recycling CBs in different materials could be a possible solution for this concurrent environmental pollution. A number of novel studies have been publicized on recycling cigarette butts with encouraging results, and several methods have been studied, including recycling of cigarette butts in asphalt concrete and fired clay bricks, as a carbon source, sound absorbing material, corrosion inhibitor, biofilm carrier, and many more. Hence, this paper provides a comprehensive review and discussion of various studies that have been carried out on the toxicity and valorization of cigarette butt waste and investigates the feasibility and sustainability of recycling methods adopted. Further research and developments are essential for the widespread application of recycling cigarette butts.

Authors: Kurmus H, Mohajerani A
; Full Source:Waste Management (New York, N.Y.). 2020 Mar 1;104:104-118. doi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2020.01.011. Epub 2020 Jan 21.