UVM students develop the "Smoke Life" project

Seeking to transform cigarette butts into useful materials

English 09/01/2018 18:42 EFE Mexico City Actualizada 18:42
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Mexican students developed the "Smoke Life" project seeking to transform cigarette butts into useful materials for a series of products.

"Smoke Life" was conceived by Alejandro Martínez, winner of the UVM Award for Social Development 2017, whose principal aim at developing this project was to develop products, such as anti-corrosive coatings, thermal and acoustic insulators, bricks, and even shoe soles from cigarette butts.

Each year, billions of cigarette butts are thrown away without any effective treatment to reduce the impact generated by this waste, capable of polluting up to 50 liters of water per cigarette butt.

"Smoke Life" begins with the massive collection of cigarette butts in busy bar neighborhoods or in the streets gathering between 1,500 and 3,000 each time.

"Then the cigarette butts are stored in empty water jugs, in which we ensure that they do not mix with any other type of garbage that could harm the process," Martínez explained.

The anticorrosive process takes up to an hour while other products "require more time because the cigarette butts are subjected to a biochemical process that must be degraded gradually, lasting about 3 days," he added.

According to the National Addictions Survey (ENAs), in Mexico, there are about 17 million smokers and each one consumes about 127 packs per year (2,540 cigarettes) of which 41% end up in landfills while the remaining 59% (29,500 million cigarette butts) end up polluting ecosystems.


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