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Rubbish bins for cigarette butts installed at Tallinn seaside areas

Rubbish bins for cigarette butts installed at Tallinn seaside areas

The Tallinn Strategic Management Office in collaboration with Filaret OÜ has installed 80 special rubbish bins at seaside areas to prevent cigarette butts from ending up in the sea, while simultaneously collecting valuable material for recycling.

Every year, tens of tons of non-biodegradable cigarette filters end up in nature, and through sea life the toxins these filters contain end up in our food as well. One cigarette butt can contaminate up to 1000 litres of water and continue to damage local aquatic biomes for up to ten years. Last year, 20 special rubbish bins were installed at Põhja-Tallinn beaches in order to prevent cigarette butts from ending up in the sea, and in only two months close to 11,000 cigarette butts were collected.

“Last autumn, we tested the cigarette bins as part of a pilot project, but now they will remain on a permanent basis,” said Deputy Mayor Joosep Vimm. “The best thing to do for both the environment and your health is to not smoke at all. However, there are still people who smoke, and it is important that cigarette butts are not thrown on the ground, but placed in given rubbish or collection bins. The new cigarette bins have been installed at areas near the sea specifically to reduce marine litter.”

The locations of the cigarette bins were chosen by the Tallinn Strategic Management Office in collaboration with the district governments of Kesklinn, Pirita and Haabersti. They are located by the Pirita light traffic road and the Tiskre stream, the Pirita promenade, City Hall, on Aegna island, Kalaranna and Pikakari, Stroomi and Kakumäe beaches (see map). The bins will be emptied by the Tallinn Waste Centre, whose partner organisation Filaret OÜ will recycle the cigarette butts into an environmentally friendly, compostable 3D printing material, helping to reduce plastic waste.

According to Tallinn Waste Centre director Rein Kalle, you can already bring any cigarette butts for disposal to any Tallinn waste plants for free, with a small Filaret collection station now also located at the Paljassaare waste plant. “We are happy to assist with any good initiatives for the development of a circular economy, and as such, going forwards we will be emptying the collection bins and giving the cigarette butts to Filaret for recycling,” said Kalle.

“We are building a cigarette butt collection network, so it is to our great pleasure that after a successful pilot project we have been granted the opportunity to install Filaret cigarette bins in a wider area over the city, together with the Tallinn Strategic Management Office,” said Filaret OÜ CEO Ines-Issa Villido. “Pollution caused by cigarette butts near seaside areas causes the greatest amount of damage, so it is very good that our cigarette bins were placed right near the sea.”

Filaret OÜ is a company following the principles of a circular economy, whose cigarette butt collection service is truly unique. Cigarette butt waste is removed from streets and areas of nature so that they may be recycled. Filaret also cooperates with Tallinn Harbour.

One of the goals of the Tallinn Waste Plan 2022-2026 is to apply solutions supporting the prevention and collection of marine litter, which includes the installation of cigarette bins at seaside areas. It also supports the goals of Tallinn as a European Green Capital.