About Chemistry, Environment, Waste Management and Green Life Inspirations

17 June 2010

Recycled Cigarette Butts Will Lower Energy Use & Stop Corrosion

Jun 14, 2010 Lara Johns
Recycling cigarette butts can lower energy use in homes and keep steel pipes, used in the oil industry, from rusting and corroding.

By now most people have heard about and realize the serious and harmful effects that cigarettes and cigarette smoke cause but what most people do not realize is that the discarded cigarette butts contribute to landfill costs. As well, cigarette butts contain harmful highly toxic materials and do degrade in a manner that lasts for years.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel however as many companies are working on ways to recycle cigarettes butts and put them to good use. China’s scientists have developed ways to "extract chemicals from discarded cigarette butts in order to protect steel pipes from corrosion." A community in London believes that Igloo Environmental, a U.K.-based recycling company, has found a way to use recycled cigarette butts and turn them into insulation products.

Cigarette Butts Help Stop Corrosion

Chinese scientists have worked to find a way to get some good out of the number one littered item. With more than "4.5 trillion cigarette butts make[ing] their way into the environment each year" there was a need to do something and the Chinese saw a solution, according to Earth911.com.
Cigarette filters are made up of cellulose acetate and nine other chemicals including, of course, nicotine. Scientists were able to remove those different chemicals and use them to prevent corrosion on steel that is used in the oil industry. The effects were favorable. Helping keep steel from rusting is a "major ongoing cost for oil producers" and this research provided by Chinese scientists will prove extremely useful for keeping corrosion and expenses down.

Cigarette Butts Help Lower Home Energy Use

The Igloo Environment recycling company realized that by recycling cigarette butts, they could lower the cost of city expenses associated with liter and landfills. The need to do something about 30,000 tons of littered cigarette butts a year was great and the Igloo Environment Company focused on turning fiber waste streams into useful insulation products, according to Earth911.com. The cigarettes will have to go through a sterilization and recycling process to remove the toxins. They then will be "broken down into their paper and fibrous material components and compacted into insulation "pillows." The insulation pillows are used in homes to decrease energy consumption associated with heat loss." This is another step in protecting our environment from "toxins associated with rainwater runoff and landfilling, while providing a 100 percent recycled insulation product for home use."

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