A team of engineers at RMIT University in Melbourne may have found an interesting use for cigarette butts.
These things are usually discarded thoughtlessly into the environment, where they take ages to break down. The toxins in these butts also tend to be released into the ground, or washed into rivers and dams after a heavy downpour.
The team at RMIT is suggesting that we mix cigarette butts with asphalt. They’ve already proved that the mixture is strong enough to handle traffic and it can also reduce thermal conductivity. Basically, it can reduce both cigarette butt pollution and reduce urban heating – two birds with one stone.
The problem is actually much bigger than we would have guessed. According to the figures, 6 trillion cigarettes are produced ever year, which leads to 1.2 million tons of butts. Due to the planet’s ever increasing population, these figures are expected to grow by 50% by 2025.