We talk of lot of issues in day to day life such as use of plastic , pollution from vehicles , garbage problem, dirty water, etc. But never thought of the littering problem we are facing around us.
Around 6 trillion of cigarette are produced worldwide annually. From 6 trillion 1.2 millions is cigarette butts.
You can't imagine how much this number will increase in future. They accumulate in the environment due to the poor biodegradability of the cellulose acetate filters and pose a serious environmental risk. You don't believe it take years to break down.
The Researchers at RMIT University made an attempt to address the issue of environmental damage caused by millions of tonnes of toxic waste being dumped into the environment in the form of cigarette butts. They have developed a lighter and more energy efficient bricks made out of cigarette butts.
Landfilling and incineration of Cigarette butt ( CB) waste are not, universally, environmentally sustainable nor economically feasible disposal methods. Recycling CBs is a problem because there are no easy procedures to assure efficient and economical separation and recycling of the entrapped chemicals.
An alternative could be to incorporate CBs in a sustainable composite building material such as fired bricks. Various attempts have been made to incorporate use of rubber , limestone dust and wood sawdust , processed waste tea , fly ash ,polystyrene and sludge. This is a practical solution to the pollution problem.
According to the researchers ,
adding butts to the mix can cut the energy needed to fire bricks by up to 58 percent.
The added material also resulted in lighter bricks, with better insulation properties, reducing household heating and cooling costs, while maintaining properties very similar to those of normal bricks.
When the bricks are fired, the heavy metals and other pollutants in the cigarette butts are trapped and immobilised in the bricks, reducing the problems caused by leaching and contamination.
As the amount of cigarette butt content increased in the bricks, they became cheaper. The researchers tested bricks with up to 10 percent cigarette butt content. At that level, the dry density of the bricks decreased by up to 30 percent, and the compressive strength decreased by 88 percent.
While greater cigarette butt content reduced the suitability of the resulting bricks for load-bearing purposes, the researchers stated that it is possible to adjust these levels depending on the intended purposes of the bricks.
We can say cigarettes which are treated as harmful to environment can be used in some good ways also.