The commune of Waterloo on Monday installed the first of dozens of ashtrays to be erected in public places to enable it to recycle cigarette stubs. The stubs will be collected, sanitized by the Mé Go! Company from Brest, France, then recycled to make pallets or small furniture.
This is a first in Belgium. The Brussels company, WeCircular, which is collaborating with Mé Go! is in discussion with other cities, such as Namur, and with various companies. It will collect the cigarette ends in Waterloo, send them to Brest and look after the maintenance of the ash trays for 4,500 euros a year.
The commune of Waterloo also paid 4,500 euros for the ash trays, which take the form of small aluminium posts installed in the ground, with openings placed in such a way that cigarette ends can be inserted, but not other waste.
The stubs will be collected regularly, centralized at WeCircular in hermetically sealed packaging and sent to Brest to be recycled using a unique procedure. Mé Go! currently processes 20,000 to 30,000 stubs per day, collected in various French towns.
Waterloo aims in this way to fight against the dumping of cigarette ends in public places, one of the most frequent incivilities, expensive to clean up and with a heavy environmental impact.
In addition to the visual pollution they cause, cigarette stubs harm the environment considerably: studies suggest that a single one can contaminate up to 500 litres of water.