Turning Philly’s Cigarette Butts into Park Benches
Shannon Dougherty is absolutely giddy that, on a pole outside the Fishtown bar she owns, there’s a small metal box that’s the latest tool in her personal war on litter.
March 30, 2018
By Anna Orso
“There are so many problems in the world right now that are so complicated,” said Dougherty, the owner of Cedar Point Bar & Kitchen. “This just seems like an easy one to fix.”
The 19-inch rectangular receptacle is called a TerraCycle “zero waste” box. Installed in February by the Fishtown Neighbors Association, the box can hold hundreds of cigarette butts before they’re shipped to New Jersey, where they will be processed and recycled into such things as ashtrays, fence posts, industrial supplies, and park benches.
And the $99 box is just one small step toward Trenton-based TerraCycle’s ultimate goal: recycling everything.
A large part of achieving that is addressing cigarette butts, which are the most littered item in the world and make up more than one-third of the roadway litter in the United States, according to a 2010 report prepared for the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful. Philadelphia has the highest rate of smoking among the 10 largest cities in America and a well-documented litter problem.