Assemblyman Michael G. DenDekker introduced a state bill last year that calls for the creation of cigarette butt recycling facilities and for a one-cent deposit to be placed on each cigarette butt. The program would work similarly to the aluminum can recycling programs. People would save up their filters and bring them to the recycling centers, where they can get back a penny for every cigarette filter turned in. DenDekker said the program would help to reduce the amount of litter produced from cigarette butts and the city’s annual costs for having to dispose them.
According to a 2010 study done by the New York City Comptroller’s, over 3.5 million cigarettes are sold in the city every day and generate more than 1.89 tons of waste daily. It currently costs the city $262,000 annually a year to collect and dispose of the butts in landfills.
“By coming up with an alternative way of recycling the filters rather than going into our solid waste stream, we would be able to save money through local municipalities and towns of cities like New York City,” said DenDekker, during a press conference held at City Hall last year, where he first announced the results of the Comptroller’s study.