Why you'll be seeing giant cigarette butts scattered on Llandudno beach and Lion’s Head this festive season

2019-12-11 11:45 - Marisa Crous
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“As you walk along the beach or take a hike anywhere in the country this festive season you will find cigarette butts scattered all over the place, defacing the natural beauty of your surroundings,” says WRAPP CEO, Clive Amsel. 

Quirky Kiickbutt holiday initiative is set to combat cigarette butt littering waste removal and recycling company WRAPP is sponsoring the Kiickbutt initiative to demonstrate the magnitude of the damage caused by the irresponsible discarding of cigarette butts.

READ: Smoker? Countries where it's almost impossible to find a smoker-friendly zone  

The company has fabricated giant cigarette butts out of decommissioned telephone poles and is setting them up strategically in places where people come to enjoy outdoor leisure activities. These ‘in-your-face’ installations have already caused a stir in places like Llandudno beach and Lion’s Head in Cape Town.  Further locations have been identified by the company for similar installations over the next few months, including Scarborough, Fishhoek, Platteklip Gorge, Umhlanga, and the Cederberg mountains.  

smoking

(PHOTO: WRAPP)

smoking

(PHOTO: WRAPP)

“There are cigarette butts strewn all along the Platteklip Gorge trail leading to the top of Table Mountain,” says Amsel.

“I have personally collected a two litre bottle full of them while hiking up there recently.” 

He says WRAPP was motivated to support the Kiickbutt initiative by the company’s passion for responsible waste removal. This connects with the core of its business, to provide fast and responsible waste removal through its mobile app, which connects entrepreneur truck owners directly with customers, enabling bookings to be confirmed in a few seconds.  

WRAPP stands for Waste Recycling Application. It is important to engender a culture of environmental responsibility, especially when it comes to waste, which is threatening the future of the planet, says Amsel. He says the idea behind the Kiickbutt initiative is to encourage as many people as possible to do their bit towards reducing toxic waste caused by discarded cigarette butts. “It is a personal choice whether or not to smoke, but at least throw the discarded cigarette butts into the nearest waste bin.” 

READ: Intoxicated passenger smoking a cigarette breaks flight attendant's leg aboard Russian airline

The Kiickbutt initiative can be followed on Instagram and Facebook. Multiple sources report that a cigarette butt takes between 18 months and 10 years to decompose.  The basis of most cigarette filters, which looks like white cotton, is a form of plastic known as cellulose acetate.  Moreover, these filters – which are on cigarettes in the first place to absorb contaminants to prevent them from going into the lungs – contain trace amounts of toxins such as cadmium, arsenic, and lead. These toxins leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms along the way. Added to this, they are typically discarded with some tobacco still attached to them, further polluting the environment with toxic nicotine. 

“It also creates a fire hazard when people throw them away while they are still smouldering,” says Amsel. 

This is a massive pollution issue often not taken as seriously as that of other plastic products. 

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