Urge Smokers to Recycle Their Cigarette Butts

Target: Margaret Chan, Director of the World Health Organization

Goal: Encourage smokers to recycle their cigarette butts.

Close to 1.3 billion people in the world smoke cigarettes and many of those people do not properly discard of their cigarette butts. While the smoke produced from cigarettes is obviously bad for the environment, the real problem is the cigarette butts. The amount of cigarette butts discarded in the United States alone is almost 176 million pounds a year. If these cigarette butts were recycled for other purposes, not only would this save people a lot of money, but it would benefit the environment significantly.

So, what can cigarette butts be recycled into? Many countries have found different uses for them including a solution that protects steel pipes from corroding, a type of fabric woven with sheep’s wool, and adhesives and sealants. Recycling cigarette butts is not only beneficial to the environment, but also beneficial to several other industries. If something as simple as recycling cigarette butts can benefit both the economy and environment so much, it is common sense that we should encourage smokers to recycle their cigarette butts.


Dear Margaret Chan,

While efforts have been made to increase recycling, we need to broaden the types of items we recycle. An appalling 176 million pounds of  cigarette butts are thrown out every year in the United States alone. If we begin to recycle cigarette butts, we can reuse that 176 million pounds of waste to create other materials. It is imperative that you help create a program that encourages the recycling of cigarette butts.

Starting this program is as simple as replacing small ash trays and cigarette trash cans outside of restaurants and stores with small recycling bins. Then, when recycling crews collect the regular recycling, they can easily empty these bins as well. There are already many uses for recycled cigarette butts, and likely more to be discovered. For example, it was discovered that cigarette butts can be used not only as a solution to stop steel pipes from corroding, but also to make clothing in combination with sheep’s wool,  and to create adhesives and sealants. If cigarette butts get recycled, not only will it keep our environment clean, but it will also benefit the economy of several industries. It is extremely important that you help to create a program that encourages the recycling of cigarette butts.


[Your Name Here]

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