In Europe, the cigarette butt is the second most common single-use plastic product found on beaches. It is a powerful chemical pollutant for the oceans : one cigarette butt can pollute between 500 and 1000 liters of water!
This alarming observation has led member states to take reinforced measures in the European Anti-Plastic Directive concerning cigarette butts. Thus, on the polluter-pays principle, the tobacco industry will have to cover the costs of collecting and recycling cigarette butts from 2023.
In France, to fight against this specific pollution, the company MéGO !, created in 2017, has set up an innovative circular economy system with the cigarette filter. In parallel with prevention and awareness actions concerning waste sorting, MéGO! offers support for local authorities, companies and associations in setting up cigarette butts collection, sorting and recycling systems.
Its cigarette butts processing plant, located in Finistère (Britany), sorts them, treats pollutants and transforms them into a 100% recyclable plastic to make street furniture. Unique in Europe, the company is already present in several cities and in big companies.
For our association The SeaCleaners, the actions of MéGO! provide a real added value compared to other solutions already offered in this area, for example the storage of cigarette butts which will quickly show its limits.
Raising awareness and empowering smokers, cleaning up the streets and equipping them with sustainable and totally recyclable street furniture offers the possibility of a virtuous loop accessible to any local authorities or companies.
It was therefore obvious for us to set up a partnership for common actions.
In 2019, during the Interceltic Festival of Lorient (Britany), where The SeaCleaners was present, we launched a cigarette butt collection contest on the festival site. The success of this contest, especially with young people, has enabled us to deliver to MéGO! a significant quantity of this waste for their transformation. A first step in a collaboration was taken. And last month, a partnership was signed and will allow to deployed actions on two axes:
– Cigarette butts management, with an assistance from MéGO! for collection and the provision of collection and storage furniture, before the butts are recovered for treatment and transformation. The SeaCleaners is committed to organizing different collections throughout the year and during different events.
– Raising awareness of this particular pollution, during organized collections, but also to corporate patrons who want to inform their teams about this scourge and be equipped with the collecting used filters system of MéGO!. MEGO! is now part of the Patron Kit!
And with the support of their subsidiary firm Eco-Action-Plus, they are also committed to lead in-house actions in companies in the West of France, to raise awareness of the overall management of office waste. Another way to undertake CSR initiatives in companies.