Cigarette butt recycling program grows

A drop in the ocean may feel like nothing, but eventually these drops will have an impact.

Marquette Citizen Volunteer Margaret Brumm says the same thing, but with trash, specifically cigarette butts, going into Lake Superior. For months, Brumm has been collecting cigarette butts from beaches, parking lots, and parks in the Marquette area.

Now, the Superior Watershed Partnership and the City of Marquette are also involved.

Brumm petitioned to the city to install cigarette butt recycling tubes from at popular spots around the city. She empties the tubes nearly 5 times a week, and then sends them to TerraCycle, a company that recycles them to make a resin used in outdoor furniture.

“So far we’ve sent 2.75 pounds of nothing but cigarette butts,” Brumm said. “That works out, if you do the calculation, that’s more than 5,000 at least, that are going to get into the lake.”

Brumm recently began requesting help from the community in collecting the butts. Tuesday nights at 6 p.m., community members can join her collection efforts for the chance to win prizes, including t-shirts and coupons for local businesses.

Brumm stated while we don’t question one or two cigarettes being thrown on the ground, if someone were to throw all 5 thousand she’s collected into the lake at once, people would undoubtedly be angry.

“We like to think because we have such a beautiful lake that it’s always going to be beautiful,” Brumm added. “But you can ruin anything beautiful if you don’t take care of it.”

For more resources on the recycling tubes or collection events, contact the Superior Watershed Partnership or Brumm.

Cigarette butt recycling tubes are posted around Marquette