IdeaMe is an online platform, which helps creators, be they inventors, artists, or designers, among others, to finance their projects through crowd funding. The Indy features and promotes one project every week, with the aim of helping the creators finance and achieve their dreams.With more than 1.1 billion smokers worldwide and more than 15 trillion cigarette butts thrown away per year, environmental engineer Cristhian Absalon saw a need to change the way we handle cigarette waste. After finishing his studies in Mexico City, Absalon chose to focus on the problem of cigarette butts, which he says, “represent almost 16% of the pollution in drains and sewers.” He spent four years designing this cigarette butt recycling project: Nicolecta.
Nicolecta will create collection points for cigarette butts in Mexico City. “The butts will then be recycled to create textiles, plastic, and even pesticides that can be used in agriculture,” he said. The cigarette butt treatment process is natural and does not harm the environment or the soil, he says.
According to Absalon, cigarette butts take 18 months to 10 years to decompose and the filters often contain toxic and non-biodegradable elements. Cities end up paying dearly in clean-up costs because cigarette butts clog sewer and drainage systems, which also causes heavy floods every rainy season.
For now, the project will remain only in Mexico City but Absalon hopes to expand to the rest of the country soon. “My hope is for this great movement to be carried out throughout the world, raising awareness and helping humanity to lead a better life.”
The money raised will be used to create and install the system of cigarette butt collection sites in different parts of Mexico City. This system will cut down on disposal costs and prevent overflowing landfills, Absalon says.
“It is such an easy thing to do, simply recycle waste,” he says. Absalon hopes to one day gain support of large companies and government for small projects such as Nicolecta.
He calls upon people to recognise the damage humans inflict on the Earth and encourages them to help in any way they can. “Every little bit helps, every little action of each of the 7 billion people on the planet today will be a great step toward a better quality of life for mankind.”
For more information about Nicolecta and how you can help, visit http://idea.me/proyecto/599/nicolecta.