How the city of Bratislava is turning cigarette butts into an innovative recycling resource, using them to create asphalt and promote environmental sustainability
Despite the 18 billion cigarettes consumed daily around the world, only a fraction of them, about a third, are disposed of properly in trash or recycling bins. Cigarette butts pose a threat to the environment, as they release toxic substances that can contaminate water, soil and ecosystems. The Slovak capital, Bratislavaleads an innovative initiative to combat this problem by showing an excellent example of the circular economy.
In 2024, the municipal waste management company Odvoz in Likvidácia Odpadu (OLO) launched a project for the collection and reuse of cigarette butts. Special offers have been introduced during public events, such as Christmas markets. containers to collect the filters of both traditional cigarettes and those present in modern devices such as Vapes. The goal is to reuse these materials to road asphalt productionthus contributing to street cleaning and waste reduction.
The transformation process
Once collected, the boots undergo a cleaning process. This step is crucial to remove all harmful substances and prepare the materials for further use. Shortly after, the butt filters, composed mainly of cellulose acetate, are transformed into special fibers. This process involves breaking down and reworking the filter base material. These fibers are then used as additive in asphalt, an innovative use that not only reduces the environmental impact of cigarette waste, but also contributes to the construction of sustainable infrastructure.
Ziar nad Hronoma city in Slovakia has already built one street using recycled cigarette butts, thus becoming a pioneering example worldwide. This project concretely demonstrates the effectiveness and potential of recycling cigarette butts in the road construction sector.
Don’t want to miss our news?
You may also be interested in: