Our idea, called Mego-Land, is to recycle plastic filters from cigarette butts to produce ashtrays. These ashtrays would be of two complementary types: collective and portable. Portable ashtrays prevent smokers from discarding their cigarette butts in the wild. Collective ashtrays, in addition to collecting cigarette butts from people nearby, near a bar for example, allow owners of portable ashtrays to dispose of accumulated cigarette butts, so that they can be sent to a recycling company.

Project description

They represent 2. 3 million tons of waste, contain 4000 chemical substances and take more than 12 years to decompose. Just one can pollute and render 500 litres of water unfit for consumption. It’s about the cigarette butts. Throwing the end of a cigarette on the ground is a harmless gesture for many. On the EPFL campus, we have noticed that the floor is sometimes littered with cigarette butts, despite the many ashtrays available.

Moreover, this waste is often not recovered. Recycling techniques exist and are already applied in some countries. However, they remain little known to the general public and require an investment of time for the contributors. This represents a major barrier to their development.

The butt filter is made of plastic, a material that is already commonly recycled. The companies practicing this type of recycling are thus able to produce plastic sheets, which can be used to construct objects without greatly altering their shape.

In order to make a modest contribution to solving the problem of cigarette butts, we came up with a concept. Make an ashtray out of recycled cigarette butts.

For more information, here is the final poster of the project:


Students involved: