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recycling cigarette buds


recycling cigarette buds

06/12/2019 at 02:48

Hey plastic army! So one Of the most ubiquitous form of litter is cigarette buds, the filter of the cigarettes are made out of cellulose acetate, the same stuff playing cards are made out of. Now, i haven’t yet built and tested this hypothesis on an injection machine so i’m asking the community if anyone has tried this before?Can filter tips be injected into a mould using the injection machine? or do they need to be mixed with something like high density polyethelyne?(thats what teracycle does). I want to make things out of cigarette buds!

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06/12/2019 at 05:38

Really interesting idea! I do think you could run into some issues when it comes to processing the material. I do not smoke so I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to cigarettes/filters but here are some questions that come to mind and I think should be considered:
– Are all cigarette buds composed of the same material?
– Do you need to or can you remove any leftover tobacco or other material not needed?
– How are you going to collect these filters?
– Is every product you make from the filters, going to permanently smell like cigarettes?
– Are you able to scale a business using this material?
– Is it healthy or safe to be using in a product?
– Will products made from cigarettes appeal to non-smokers?

I’ve subscribed to your post and will be checking back periodically. Best of luck!

06/12/2019 at 06:46

Good topic @andros-turtle!
Just sharing one post from the Discord here, where they melted cigarette buts into a sheet. I guess it could be a challenge to get rid of the smell. Interesting to test out more stuff though!

I would probably start with just trying to melt the buts before trying to inject them into a mould.

06/12/2019 at 07:04

Ah, and another inspiration:

Surfboards made with cigarette buts.

06/12/2019 at 22:27

G’day guys,

Hiram here from Upzigle. We have been collecting and trying to raise awareness here in Nuremberg, Germany about the dangers of cigarette butts in our environment for over a year now – with the aim to recycle them. That’s how I also became aware of PP when looking for a recycling option:-)

I was working a full-time job so didn’t have the time to push the recycling side until now.

Every few months I have been talking with a colleague in Cologne Germany who has been experimenting with recycling for a few years now.
From all the different types of products, he has only been allowed to produce ashtrays-to-go/ pocket ashtrays.


There is also some colleagues in France https://www.facebook.com/megotsrecyclage.fr/ who are recycling cigarette butts by washing, drying, press them, then make furniture, smartphone holders, pots, book covers…I have emailed them to collaborate, but don’t have a reply yet.

I was thinking of building some machines just for cigarette butt experiments. shredder and extrusion I think would be best. This is what Terracycle does from what I have seen. Plus they use them for insulation in buildings in France too.

Anyway, Happy to start collaborating on this, I have heaps of cigarette butts https://www.facebook.com/upzigle/ and before i roll out the collection of more, I want to start finding a recycling solution and a place to store them:-)

06/12/2019 at 22:35

It’s great to see that the forums are active! I haven’t figured out  how to mention People in my replies! @aidanmp doesn’t work. How do you do it? xD

To aidanmp

– Longwood resealed a study that sais that 95% of <b>cigarette filters</b> are <b>made of cellulose</b> acetate (a plastic), and the balance are <b>made</b> from papers and rayon
( I pressume that the 5% of compost filters are not used by the usual tobacco companies.)

-Yes. The filter needs to be separated from the excess tobacco and paper that can be treated as compost. This procedure takes about 2-3 seconds per bud to do by hand and i imagine can somehow be automated. Maybe one floats in some liquid that the other doesn’t ( Research to be done) .

– Well, an easy way to collect buds would be to arrange with social public spaces, Like the outdoors space of a pub to collect the buds from their ashtrays for you. I know some people that would be willing to do that for me and my estimate is ,on a good night, something like 1000 cigarette buds can be collected almost effortlessly.  Another great way is to just clean up a beach! or the street! Keep your head down in a busy city like London and i promise your sight will pick up a cigarette bud almost every moment of walking.

-That is definitely a point to be taken seriously. I believe that with chemical treatment, one could extract the stuff that makes the filter stink. But even if you don’t remove that stuff there’s a chance that the smell fades in the melting process. (need to experiment) . And even if is does stink, theres a solution around that. You make things that don’t need to smell good. Like ashtrays perhaps.

– A business would be a nice way to ensure that I can keep doing cigarette products and putting cigarette buds to use. Are you looking for a project to work on?

– Is it healthy or safe to be used in a product?
– I imagine that some products would be suitable to be made from cigarettes and some would not. One would not make a pacifier out of cigarettes but one could, with the right treatment make other products out of them. Perhaps industrial?
This is  Teracycle recycling company that shows that it’s possible! They show that it’s possible. I don’t know much about their procedure though! It looks like its an intricate process!

Here’s a news-clip video about Terracycle to check out if you are interested.

– I think giving a demand to ciga-products gives value to the cigarette bud and thus helps to keep cigarette buds out of landfills and in some cases the ocean.
I think this is something could appeal to both a non-smoker and a smoker.

Thanks for the interest in the topic! I might just start experimenting!

06/12/2019 at 23:00


Katharina thanks for posting two awesome examples!

That sheet made out of heated and pressed cigarettes looks like an awesome idea. Definitely worth investigating! Looks easy to make to! Nice!! Nice work Discord!!

In Fact, both the works are smart in the way they hardly process the filters! My idea was also to melt and it and inject it as this allows the possibility of being more flexible with the geometry you design! In both the projects, the cigarettes are used to make sheets! That’s good to know that it can be done!

I might just start working with Heating and Pressing now!

The surfboard seems to be cigarette buds cast in Resin! Also worth checking out!

07/12/2019 at 02:40

It’s fantastic to hear that you are occupied full-time with this campaign!

These are fantastic contacts that you have! I wonder why they are only using 5 % at Tobacycle. Can

It’s interesting to think of it this way. At the end of a cigarette lie fibers of cellulose acetate. If it is possible to cleanse the filter back to its original form, it is no longer a cigarette bud. It is a piece of plastic. That you can make stuff from, without it being related to smoking. From what it looks like, this cleansing(washing the chemicals) process is long and costly and perhaps unsustainable. I’m glad to hear that Tobacycle is doing well by using uncleansed buds though! katharinaelleke Posted something above that depicts creations made with untreated buds that go beyond ashtrays!

wow, me-go! seem to be really growing! That is definitely a valuabe contact! They might just have all of the manufacturing answers. Cool website too!

upzigle I’m happy to collaborate in any way in this project. I’m going to start by seeing what I can do by heating and pressing the buds. It’s good to see that you have loads of material already and Please update with progress on those machines you are planning to build 🙂 .

Do you use Slack? He’res an open source for collaboration. Images and data can be shared quickly and efficiently:



09/12/2019 at 20:59

Great that you are really digging into this topic, personally not something I had heard about until I saw your post. I found it to be an interesting idea and one that most people overlook.

As of right now I’m at the planning stages of building a sheet press to then create another product I plan to start a business with. I had the idea a couple years ago and have been saving money, talking to industry professionals, and learning about pcrp in my free time. I’ve got enough work cut out for me so I won’t be signing up for this project at the moment. I figured I’d ask those questions just to help prompt some ideas if not already thought of.

Definitely start experimenting on a small scale, be extremely slow to spend money unless necessary. reach out to other people who are interested or are already working with buds.

I wish you the best of luck on your journey and will remind you that persistence is key, lots of stuff takes much longer or take you a different route than expected. You don’t know what you don’t know.

I’ll check back on this thread every so often and chime in if I have any more info or questions that I think can contribute!

11/12/2019 at 15:41

I recently came to know about teracycle, these people are recycling cigarette buds. They ask people to post the cigarettes butts to them and then they help with separating ash, washing and then making products out of it.


                 Can Everything Be Recycled? Welcome to TerraCycle | One Small Step | NowThis               

I would like to the same in India and I contacted them but no response.

19/12/2019 at 11:15

Thank for this interesting topic ! Don’t really know about that, but I have seen that a young French engineer make some ‘wool’ for coats from cigarette buds. Sorry the article below is in French, I didn’t find anything about him in English. Hope it could give you some ideas.


20/12/2019 at 11:58

Hi archit1990,
terracycle hasn’t replied to me either…but here is an article of some guys in india recycling cigarette butts:

Thanks Paulinem, i get the general idea. wouldnt mind nowing how he cleans them. So, time to build some machine to use on cigarette butt recycling only!

02/04/2020 at 18:38

Hi all,

I created Snuffit for tackling the cigarette butt problem. I am Finnish, but live in Italy.
We have now come a long way on the road on how to put a dent in the problem. Some problems I would like you to be aware of:
1, Products like surfboards, asphalt etc. are only postponing the problem, the toxins are encapsulated and will eventually leak out
2. Permission, you should find out what the legislation in your area about the upcycling of cigarette butts before doing it.
3. There are not enough butts. We developed different uses for the butts, we are still starting up and still doing research, but we will have to select wisely not to run out of butts. One of the big problems is that when doing this on an industrial scale we need large quantities. And since we are talking waste it is not likely that we can do it on a DIY scale because of legislation.
4. CBs are  a fantastic raw material, but need to be cleaned in a correct way before use. This can be done with very simple household cleaning chemicals, but we need to remedy the cleaning solutions as well. We are now trying to develop a way of using the waste from cleaning the CBs as a raw material in itself or extracting the pollutants from the solutions.
5. As for Terracycle they make the CB waste into thermoplastics mixed with other plastics, I do not know what their mixer is, but to me it seems like we should aim at making the end product as simple as possible to be possible to recycle again.

I could write a very long essay but if you are interested please ask me and I will try to answer as best i can.

Upzigle, It would be a pleasure to work together, but I think this is rather difficult because of legislation.

Attached some paper made of CBs and plants growing in CB growth substrate in our modular greenhouse
Maybe after the Corona crisis we can somehow work together.


03/06/2020 at 15:54

Hi Ulf,

Thanks for getting in contact and providing feedback.
I just got back from a longer than planned stay in Australia…so ready to get back to work on this problem as well as creating awareness about plastic recycling.
I found you on insta, nice containers you have…would be happy to chat more and collaborate.


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