UBC Undergraduate Research

Cigarette disposal investigation and assessment Smith, Nathaniel; Lawson, Jack; Khangura, Aman; Johnson, Brandon


This report looks to investigate and assess options for UBC to explore in regards to cigarette butt disposal on campus with respect to sustainable initiatives. Cigarette butts are a serious waste disposal problem that needs to be addressed. Investigative research was carried out on the available collection and disposal option currently used around the world. Additional proposed methods that are not currently being used were also explored. These options were then presented to the UBC student body in survey form to gauge response to initiatives proposals. These surveys in conjunction with a triple bottom line assessment were analyzed for the presentation of the recommended option for the adoption at UBC. The final combined collection and disposal recommendations for UBC is the adoption of enforced designated smoking areas with available collection receptacles. The collection receptacles facilitate easy collection of localized littering in addition to responsible deposition by smokers utilizing the area. 73.8% of students’ survey at UBC support designated smoking areas. Despite a recycling initiative available by TerraCycle, the collected cigarette butts will then be ultimately disposed of in the landfill UBC currently uses for regular waste. Landfills are heavily regulated and have groundwater contamination mitigation measures in place. The recycling initiative TerraCycle promotes the re-normalization of smoking, is subsidized by big tobacco companies, and was not able to be reached for information regarding their emissions and energy consumption. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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