Cigarette butts that become compostable 3D printing material


CATEGORY: Consumables

A new initiative of the municipality of Tallinn (Estonia) helps combat pollution on its coast while collecting raw material for a new 3D printing filament

This summer, special bins were installed on the beaches of the Põhja-Tallinn district to prevent cigarette butts from ending up in the sea. The material collected in the containers will later be given a new life as a 3D printing filament. This is initially a pilot project that will last two months.



“Each year, almost 80 tons of cigarette filters end up in the environment, which do not break down and cause toxic substances to reach our table through marine animals. I hope these special bins will help reduce this widespread marine litter," says Tallinn Deputy Mayor Joosep Vimm. "What makes the project particularly interesting is that, in addition to collecting butts from the beach, they will be recycled into compostable 3D printing material, thus reducing the problem of plastic waste”.


Cigarette butts are one of the most common types of marine litter in the Baltic Sea. Apart from plastic, most of the waste found in the Baltic Sea and in coastal areas is cigarette butts and filters, which are toxic and non-biodegradable. A single cigarette butt can contaminate up to 1,000 liters of water, and the toxins released from the filter into the water can persist for up to 10 years, becoming lethal to aquatic life. The locations of the cigarette bins were selected in cooperation with the Põhja-Tallinn district government. Containers will initially be installed for two months at Stroomi Beach Park, Katariina Pier and Pikakari Beach Fisherman's Pier, Kalaranna New Boardwalk, Kopli Boardwalk, in the seaplane port and on Linnahall Pier, where there is a café with an open-air terrace soon to open. In total, 20 litter bins have been placed in the urban space.


The project is being carried out by the Circular Economy Department of the Tallinn Strategic Management Office in cooperation with Filaret OÜ, a circular economy company with a unique butt collection service. The company helps remove cigarette litter from streets and natural areas, which is then recycled into environmentally friendly, compostable 3D printing filaments. Filaret is also a partner of the Port of Tallinn and the Tallinn Airport.


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