It's 11:34pm and you are enjoying drinks on Granville Street with your good friends. You and your friend, Carly, escape for a moment to share a smoke and catch up of the latest gossip. "Kate Middleton did what this week?" Before you go back inside to continue dancing, like the "Dancing Queen, young and sweet, only seventeen", you throw your cigarette butt on the ground, and never think about it again.
But did you ever wonder where that cigarette ends up? Contrary to popular belief, cigarette butts are NOT biodegradable. Cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate, a plastic that can break into smaller pieces, but will never biodegrade or disappear.
When it rains (rain... in Vancouver?) your cigarette ends up being swept into the drain and into our water ways where they leach toxins and kill or injure aquatic creatures, wildlife, and pets. In addition, the plastic parts of cigarette butts can be ingested by fish, birds, whales and other marine animals.
It is estimated that 1.69 BILLION pounds of butts wind up as toxic trash each year, creating an enormous environmental, health, and economic burden.
So how can you stop being an ash hole? Simple. Deposit your used cigarettes in the numerous cigarette receptacles along Granville Street. Those cigarettes are removed by TerraCycle, an international upcycling company that takes difficult-to-recycle packaging and turns it into affordable, innovative products.