Group Working To Ease Cigarette Butt Problem In Nashville

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Group Working To Ease Cigarette Butt Problem In Nashville

CREATED Jul 2, 2014
by Chris Cannon

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Clean Water Project is working to clean up cigarette butts from the streets of downtown Nashville.

“Cigarette butts are the number one most polluted item in the world,” said Mark Thien. “It's the most littered item here in Nashville, as well.”

The organization has teamed up with global company TerraCycle to recycle cigarette butts from the Nashville area.

“It's actually a free program to participate in. The only cost is pulling out a used box out of the waste stream that you would typically be sending to the dump, or through your recycling program,” Thien.

Nashville Clean Water Project provides the postage each month to send the cigarette butts to TerraCycle.

Two of downtown Nashville’s biggest venues have signed on to the project. The Nashville Predators began collecting butts at Bridgestone Arena in February.

“I believe they've shipped off somewhere just short of a hundred pounds of cigarette butts, which, pound for pound, there's about 1,000 cigarette butts per pound,” according to Thien.

Music City Center has only collected cigarette butts for a month and the convention center has already generated 10,000 butts for the program.

Thien said the reason behind his organization’s push to collect cigarette butts comes because of the environmental threat they pose to the area’s waterways.

“At the first rainfall, those butts are going straight into our rivers and creeks, and the Cumberland River, as well,” said Thien.

Once TerraCycle receives the collected butts, the company transforms the waste.

“The filters are mixed with the recyclable plastic, then it's injection molded into shipping pallets,” explained Thien.

The group is trying to recruit more companies and organizations to collect cigarette butts and recycle them.

Anyone interested can send an email to to get more information.