BELFAST — Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition continues to bring in the butts in its efforts to rid city streets of the world’s most littered item.

According to TerraCycle, its partner in the process, BBWC collected 2.15 pounds of cigarette butts in August alone, “which by our calculations amounts to 2,150 butts,” a company spokesperson said. BBWC has teamed up with TerraCycle, a leader in repurposing complex waste streams, to recycle the toxic litter.

The butts come primarily from the 14 “Butt Butler” receptacles BBWC has placed throughout the city of Belfast, making it easy for community members to divert cigarette waste from the community’s streets and ecosystems.

This latest shipment to Terracycle is in addition to the 95,400 cigarette butts collected in May, together with other refuse, during the annual Keeping Belfast Maine Beautiful cleanup event. BBWC packed and mailed several boxes of the collected butts to TerraCycle the next day.

After being shipped to TerraCycle, which is based in New Jersey, the waste collected through the BBWC “Butt Busters” program is processed into plastic pellets for use in a variety of recycled products, including shipping pallets, ashtrays and park benches. The remaining tobacco is composted.

“Cigarette butts surround the street drains which carry them directly into the bay, poisoning all living things there,” said Debbie Murphy, a Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition representative. “Also, the unsightliness of the streets with this litter is disgusting.”

Cigarette filters are made of a plastic that absorbs nicotine, heavy metals and various chemicals that are the products of smoking tobacco and the additives in a cigarette.

Around the world, people litter more than 4.5 trillion cigarette butts every year. Depending on conditions, it can take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years for a cigarette filter to decompose. Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition is trying to make a dent in the number of cigarette butts left behind across the local ecosystems with its participation in TerraCycle’s cigarette recycling program.

BBWC is dedicated to conservation and stewardship of the natural and public resources of the Belfast Bay watershed through its involvement in various informational programs that advocate for protection of the environment.

TerraCycle has collected hundreds of millions of cigarette butts globally. Additionally, through its various recycling programs, it has engaged over 202 million people across 20 countries to collect and recycle billions of pieces of waste that were otherwise non-recyclable, all while raising over $44 million dollars for charities.