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cigarette collection point, Source: City of Lyon

Lyon saves millions of litres of water by properly disposing of cigarette butts

Lyon saves millions of litres of water by properly disposing of cigarette butts

Over the course of just a single year

Lyon has managed to preserve approximately five milliom litres of water over the course of a single year, thanks to the proper disposal and recycling of cigarette butts. This approximation, shared by the city itself, is based on the total number of cigarette ends thrown into EcoMégot terminals at Gerland park between July 2019 and July 2020 and the assumption that each such item left to decompose pollutes approximately 500 litres of water.

How can proper cigarette butts’ disposal save water?

The French company Ecomégot, in partnership with the City of Lyon, installed 15 cigarette butt collection points on the territory of Gerland park in July 2019. The target period was of two years. Recently, the city got familiarized with the mid-term results of the experiment and they are quite promising.       

For a single year a total of 10,200 cigarette ends were collected, which is a significant quality, according to Julien Bouhouf, speaking for Ecomégot, especially given the fact that this first year saw a few weeks of lockdown, during which the park was closed to visitors.

Now, to the arithmetic and the practical benefit for the water supply. It is estimated that each cigarette butt takes 12 years to decompose, contains 2 500 chemical compounds and pollutes 500 litres of water. This brings the total quantity of water preserved by Lyon smokers to approximately 5,1 million litres.

As we have written before, in France cigarette ends take on a new life after being properly disposed of. Some companies like Ecomégot transform them into a new plastic polymer used in the creation of objects, like urban furniture. Alternatively, they can become a solid substitute fuel thus replacing fossil fuels.

Finally, Lyon has no intention of ending the fight against the harmful habit of smoking. The French city has already surrounded its Zénith park by similar collection points and made it entirely tobacco-free. The smoking ban experiment is part of an initiative to promote “tobacco-free outdoor spaces” launched in 2015.

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