Recycling cigarette butts is more proof of Melbourne's burning desire to reduce landfill

Recycling cigarette butts is more proof of Melbourne's burning desire to reduce landfill

Recycling cigarette butts is more proof of Melbourne's burning desire to reduce landfill

Updated 25 July 2017, 12:35 AEST

Cigarette butts from across Melbourne are being shipped to the United States to be recycled into street furniture, shipping pallets and ashtrays.

Melbourne's cigarette butts are being shipped to the United States to be recycled into street furniture, shipping pallets and ashtrays.

City of Melbourne councillor and environment portfolio chair Cathy Oke said the council had partnered with a recycling company for the scheme.

"Currently [the recycling] is being done in the US ... because there's not enough cigarette butts being collected in the appropriate or the proper way," she told ABC Radio Melbourne's Libbi Gorr.

"Recycling the cigarette butts has a lower global warming impact than other forms of getting rid of them like incineration or putting them into landfill."

Dr Oke said Melbourne smokers put 9 million cigarette butts into landfill each year.

Smokers urged to butt out wisely

The council is calling on smokers to support the recycling scheme by butting out in one of the 367 "enviro poles" around the city so the butts can be collected.

"We're encouraging smokers to not put their cigarette butts in the general bin, or certainly not on the ground," Dr Oke said.

She said cigarette butts contained plastic and were not biodegradable.

"We do have thousands of cigarette butts on the ground each week.

"The number one thing we want is to get them out of the food chain for our aquatic animals, so out of our waterways.

"So many cigarette butts are still seen on our beaches and by our rivers and they end up in the water, so it's not good."

Local recycling a possibility

Dr Oke said if enough smokers used the enviro poles, "we can encourage an industry here to recycle the cigarette butts".

"Hopefully more councils will get on board and the demand will be there, and then of course we can do it in Australia."

However her preference was for people to stop smoking altogether.

"Hopefully we're reducing the cigarette butts in the first place," she said.