Cigarette recycling: Slovakia is transforming filters into asphalt for roads

Cigarette recycling: Slovakia is transforming filters into asphalt for roads

Bratislava is pioneering a new way to recycle cigarette butts.

The Slovakian capital’s municipal waste management company announced a new push to collect and reuse discarded cigarettes in 2024.

During the city’s Christmas markets, the group trialled special containers designed to collect both standard cigarette filters and those found in modern heated tobacco devices like vapes.

The city plans to use the discarded material to create asphalt for roads.

Authorities hope this will contribute to cleaner streets and a practical reuse for the waste.

Slovakia pioneers novel way to recycle cigarette butts

Bratislava’s city waste management firm Odvoz a Likvidácia Odpadu (OLO) has said they will place specially designed containers for discarded cigarettes at public events as of 2024.

While this in itself isn’t innovative, their use for the cigarette butts is a global first.

In collaboration with the Bratislava City Council and the companies SPAK-EKO and EcoButt, OLO will help transform the waste material into asphalt for roads.

“If visitors to a festival, run, market or other urban event throw cigarette butts into a special container, they will contribute not only to a cleaner environment but to the material recovery of this type of waste,” Martina Čechová, manager of the circular economy at OLO, said in a press release.

The joint project will see used cigarette filters made into special fibres that can then become an admixture for the preparation of asphalt to be used on road surfaces.

Slovakia is home to the world’s first road made from cigarette butts

While Bratislava hopes to increase cigarette recycling in 2024 with this new scheme, it will not be the first time filters have been used to make roads.

There is already a road in Slovakia made by EcoButt using discarded cigarettes.

It is located in Žiar nad Hronom in a central region of the country and is reportedly the first of its kind in the world.

How do cigarette butts damage the environment?

The push to recycle more discarded cigarettes could have a significant positive impact on the planet.

Used cigarettes that are thrown on the ground are problematic for the environment because they release toxic substances which can contaminate water, soil and ecosystems.

Only an estimated third of the cigarette butts from the 18 billion cigarettes smoked worldwide every day end up in a rubbish or recycling bin.