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German Smokers See Cigarette Butts Recycled Into Ash Trays

MAINZ, Germany - German smokers have a reason to feel slightly better about themselves thanks to a campaign that has seen them collect more than 2 million cigarette stubs for recycling in the past three months. As part of the plan introduced by New Jersey-based waste collection company TerraCycle, collection points for cigarette waste have been set up at more than 100 locations, including bars, offices and even an amusement park. Once the paper and tobacco remains are filtered out, the recyclable cellulose-acetone is turned into plastic pellets, which often end up as new plastic garbage cans or ashtrays.

“Despite the fact that Germans already have four different recycling bins outside their homes, our projects have been received well in Germany,” Wolfram Schnelle from TerraCycle in Berlin told NBC News. “The United States have a recycling awareness, but the recycling infrastructure is much better in Germany or other northern European countries." TerraCycle also helps to collect daily waste such as old toothbrushes, plastic pens or coffee machine capsules.

E-cigarette health risks cited 2:43
Proposed FDA regulations on e-cigarettes 0:18

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- Andy Eckardt