VIA INO21 Challenge 1: Stop Littering With Cigarette Butts
To participate in this challenge it is required that you are a student at VIA University College Engineering and take part in the Innovation weeks in week 5 and 6.
Cigarette butts is the type of litter you find most of worldwide, both in the cities, the nature and in oceans. Although cigarette butts seem small and harmless, they contain plastic and many harmful chemicals and heavy metals, which pile up in the small filters.
Annually 6.5 trillion cigarettes are sold, equalling 18 billion being smoked every day. It is estimated that only 1/3 of cigarette butts worldwide ends up in a trash/garbage can or ashtray.
We don’t know how many end up on the streets of Aarhus, but one only has just to take a rest on a bench, look down and start counting. Aarhus Kommune has since 2015 made a yearly Epinion survey asking the residents about their conception of littering in our municipality – every year cigarette butts have ranked number two (after fast food packaging) as the type litter that bothers them the most. Number one has been fast food packaging – probably ranking highest because of the size difference, as butts are small and often neutral of colour.
Most cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic. When tossed into the environment, they dump not only micro plastic, but also the nicotine, heavy metals, and many other chemicals they’ve absorbed. Recent studies found that the presence of cigarette butts in the soil reduces the germination success and shoot length.
It is estimated that picking up cigarette butts costs the municipality 2 DKK a piece, and they often end up places where city cleaning machines and brooms cannot get them. Therefore they often must be picked up individually by hand.
Many studies and tests have been made as to how one can change the behaviour of smokers and have them butt their butt rather than flicking it onto the streets and nature.
Is it a question of nudging, city design, adaptation, information, or a new take on the matter? How can a city like Aarhus get rid of cigarette butts in our streets, urban spaces and/or nature?
Creating your group room
Uploading of your first description
Uploading your first video
Final upload of all material
Sources and Information
Here you can find additional sources and material for inspiration:
” Cigarette butts are toxic plastic pollution. Should they be banned?” National Geographic, 2019
“Cigarette butts hamper plant growth – study” American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2019
”Cigarette butts in soil hamper plant growth, study suggests“ BBC, 2019
“Cigarette filters are the No.1 plastic pollutant ... and don't prevent cancer” CNN, 2019
“How Cigarette Butts Pollute the Environment” Verywell Mind, 2020
[Danish] “Masseeksperiment er afsluttet: Der er fundet plastik i naturen over hele Danmark” Plastic Change, 2020 https://plasticchange.dk/videnscenter/masseeksperimentet-plasticchange-uddanner-born/
[Danish] ” Cigaretskod er fulde af plastik” Plastic Change, 2020 https://plasticchange.dk/videnscenter/cigaretskod-er-fulde-af-plastik/
[Danish] ”Danmark har også et problem med forurening: mere end 26,5 tons affald indsamlet til World Cleanup Day” Plastic Change, 2020, https://plasticchange.dk/videnscenter/world-cleanup-day-2020-resultater/
To what extent is the solution new to the world or new to the context (Aarhus)?
Is the solution original or a new creative mix of what is already known and exists?
To what extent does the solution have a positive effect on the environment?
Is the expected impact on the environment made probable and justified?
How well is the solution presented?
Is it clear and concise?
Is it possible for the stakeholders to understand and use the solution based on the presentation?