Cigarette Butts Recycled Into Building Bricks To Help The Environment

Cigarette Butts Recycled Into Building Bricks To Help The Environment

Adding cigarette waste could cut the energy required to fire bricks by up to 58 percent

Emma Hutchings
  • 31 may 2016

Researchers from RMIT University in Australia have demonstrated how bricks made with cigarette butts can slash energy consumption and provide a solution to this type of waste. They discovered that repurposing butts by incorporating them into fired-clay bricks for building could cut the energy needed to fire bricks by as much as 58 percent.

Recycling discarded cigarettes provides a sustainable way to solve a global littering problem, offsetting the waste from butts that are tossed on the ground. Millions of tons are currently dumped into the environment, with poor biodegradability and heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium, nickel and cadmium in the filters that get into soil and waterways and can contaminate them.

cigarette-butt-bricks Cigarette Butts

A team at RMIT led by Dr Abbas Mohajerani, a senior lecturer in the School of Engineering, has shown that bricks with as little as one percent cigarette butt content can cut brick production costs and help save the environment. As more butts are incorporated, the energy cost for producing them decreases even further.

Fired-clay bricks with cigarette butts were also found to be lighter and better insulated, which could lead to reduced household heating and cooling bills for residents. They retain properties very similar to those of normal bricks but during firing, the heavy metals and other pollutants inside the butts are trapped and immobilized in the bricks to reduce any problems caused by leaching.

RMIT University

+Energy Consumption
+RMIT University

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