/Contribution of tobacco companies to collect cigarette butts: “It was time for things to move”, greets the founder of the company Mégo
Contribution Of Tobacco Companies To Collect Cigarette Butts: “it Was

Contribution of tobacco companies to collect cigarette butts: “It was time for things to move”, greets the founder of the company Mégo

More than 23 billion cigarette butts are thrown on the ground each year on French territory.

Cigarette butts in Paris, May 29, 2021. (DELPHINE LEFEBVRE / HANS LUCAS / AFP)

About 80 million euros per year will be allocated to communities to collect the more than 23 billion cigarette butts thrown on the ground each year in France, the Ministry of the Environment announced on Tuesday. This contribution will be partly paid by the cigarette manufacturers, through an eco-organization. “It was time for things to happen”, greeted this Wednesday on franceinfo Bastien Lucas, founder and director of the company Mégo.

franceinfo: Do ​​you welcome the creation of this eco-organization for tobacco companies?

Bastien Lucas: Yes, because there is everything to do on this subject of the butt. It is a waste which pollutes the water, which pollutes the soil, which has nothing to do with the ground. And so there is a long way to go to get there. The municipalities need help, need financial support to bring smokers to the ashtray and, why not, add value to this polluting waste. The molecules present in the butt, including nicotine, dilute on contact with water. So, once the butt is on the ground, the pollution has already taken place, it is almost too late, unfortunately, to go and collect it. You have to collect it, you have to recycle this filter, which is plastic waste, and you have to give it a second life. But despite everything, a butt has nothing to do with the floor. So, indeed, cities need support.

This eco-contribution will not necessarily cover recycling. Do you regret it?

Yes. On the one hand, recycling has a considerable leverage effect on the behavior of smokers. But in addition, we were able to demonstrate to the public that recycling a kilo of cigarette butts has a much more beneficial carbon offset than incinerating it. So, indeed, we regret it, but we are sure that the eco-organization, in the months and years to come, will take all these aspects into account to do what is called continuous improvement.

Taking responsibility when you are a manufacturer of cigarettes is good. But shouldn’t smokers also take their responsibilities by not throwing cigarette butts anywhere?

You are absolutely right and we know it well: the smoker has this annoying tendency, once the cigarette has been smoked, to find excuses to throw his cigarette on the ground. Pocket ashtrays exist, just as educational ashtrays to collect and recycle them exist. It was time for things to move because it was one of the last garbage that is constantly thrown on the ground where there was no eco-organism.