Woodland Villa cigarette butt recycling program reducing litter, helping residents’ council

Woodland Villa residents Morris Merpaw and Carol Hamilton are pictured here with one of the TerraCycle cigarette butt containers the home recently acquired. These containers are helping reduce litter, and the cigarette butts they collect will be recycled.

‘The residents are really adamant about doing this’

Woodland Villa is helping reduce litter on the grounds of the Long Sault, Ont. long-term care home while bringing in money for the residents’ council in the process.

The home now has two containers to collect cigarette butts – one near the front and another at the back. Anyone who smokes is asked to put their cigarette butts into the containers which, when full, are collected by recycling company TerraCycle Canada.

The containers – which are metal boxes embossed with the TerraCycle logo – are located in the designated smoking areas and easy for smokers to spot.

Filters on cigarette butts contain plastics made from cellulose acetate, a non-biodegradable substance. If not properly disposed of, the filters can take up to 15 years to break down.

For every three pounds of recycled material, the Woodland Villa residents’ council gets $1 back from TerraCycle, says Woodland Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Lisa Doran.

Lisa says the project is working well. Cigarette butts are ending up in the recycling containers and there is less litter on the ground. The residents also get a sense of pride that they’re doing something to help the environment and themselves, she adds.

“The residents are really adamant about doing this; they love it. They are constantly asking me to empty (the containers),” she says. “It’s an amazing idea, it really is.”

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