This project examines and attempts to rethink an entire society’s behaviour patterns and habits concerning cigarette butts, developing a system of intertwined loops and concentric organisations.
What if cigarette butt litter was valuable rather than destructive ?
In addition to the development of a complete recycling and upcycling process for the cigarette butts with an utopic but realistic vision for society, this project features at its centre a modular and mobile machine, designed to be installed in key pedestrian spaces in large cities. It enables people to gather cigarette stubs for recycling, in exchange for 3D printed products and goods created with the recycled material, cellulose acetate, directly on site.
The idea behind the intervention is twofold : to raise awareness about the litter and pollution problem in a rewarding and playful way by empowering people to change their behaviour and collect cigarette butts instead of randomly discarding them.
A serie of models of the modular machine were created to illustrate this project. The whole system was 3D printed in scale 1:20, and then some parts and mechanisms were made in scale 1:1 and 1:2
If glass bottles, plastic bottles and bottle caps can be returned why couldn’t cigarette butts be returned in some way too ? The discordance between the actual value of the cigarette filter and its perceived value represents an enormous difference. The dirty filter combines all of the major repellent factors possible to discourage any users to deal with it. Nothing makes it attractive; it smells bad, it is extremely contaminating, it is toxic, and is the illustration of bad health choices and habits. Holding a cigarette butt in your hand until you find the next ashtray is as unpleasant for you as walking around with a runny nose and no tissue for it as it is for people surrounding you.
The best way to participate quickly and actively in the cigarette littering depollution is to put everyone at work, by exposing the actual value of a cigarette stub and what would be the effects on limited ressources (forests and such) if the cellulose acetate got to be reintroduced in the industrial market. An exemple would be to put a return tax on the cigarette pack, more specifically on the filters. That way the polluters would pay for their own pollution if they dont return the filters, while offering supplemental income for those in need.
To give an exemple of the kind of actual value this material has, being a potential great alternative material for 3D printing, the public gets offered the possibility to gather cigarette butts in exchange of their own 3D prints. The users in question could bring their own 3D files to print, but a set of proposed objects would also be available to print as a counterpart for picking stubs and cleaning the streets. More specifically lamps inspired by some parts of the machine or also responsible smoking accessories such as pocket ashtrays clipable on your cigarette pack. The quantity of gathered acetate is then translated to an available quantity of material to print with.