The Municipality of Central Corfu and the Diapontian Islands is the first municipality in the entire Ionian region and of Western Greece, that has created an organized network of separate collection of cigarette waste (cigarette butts) by placing receptacles designed specifically for recycling cigarette waste in at least 40 locations in the city of Corfu that seem to be the most crowded areas.
Through this new network, the cleaning crews of the Municipality will carry out a separate collection of cigarette butts, which in turn will be shipped to factories abroad for detoxification and recycling. Their processing will result in recycled industrial products, such as plastic pallets. The paper waste, tobacco and the ash that is contained in cigarette waste, will be composted.
The significant negative repercussions on the environment by cigarette butts are caused due to the fact that they contain a number of toxic chemicals and plastic. Their biodegradation in the environment takes place at a very slow pace. Even a cigarette butt is enough to be deadly to microorganisms found in either fresh or saltwater. They pass through drain grates into the sewer system, to reach our seas where they release nicotine, benzene, cadmium, acetone, acetic acid, ammonia, arsenic, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, hydrocarbons, hydrogen cyanide, lead, methane, lead -210, sulfuric acid, tar and radon! Disposal in landfills unfortunately does not seem to solve the problem, as plastic filters have a slow rate of biodegradation (15 years).
With this specific course of action the Municipality of Central Corfu and the Diapontian Islands hopes to protect both the environment from the abundance of toxic chemicals and plastics contained in cigarette butts (as aforementioned), as well as maintain the overall image of an UNESCO World Heritage Site such as the Old Town of Corfu. Moreover, the Municipality of Central Corfu and the Diapontian Islands through this type of action is looking forward to lead another waste stream to its proper management in accordance with the principles of the circular economy.