Published: April 30, 2019
Published: April 30, 2019

Small Recycling Program Has a Big Impact

​​​​​​We’re always looking for new initiatives to help improve the way we operate. Our PPG Automotive Refinish coatings site in Stowmarket, England, has implemented an innovative and highly unique community recycling project. This involves turning discarded cigarette butts into plastic lumber and boards to be used to build signs, benches and other items.

A Clearer and Greener Site

The initiative was started due to a build-up of cigarette waste in the area. The site is now smoke free, so three specially-designed ashtrays have been placed outside the site boundaries on a public footpath that runs along the riverbank. They empty these bins several times a year, and ship the contents to an outside contractor for recycling.

This program has had a massive effect on the local environment and kept more than 80,000 cigarette butts from landfills. It’s a small program that’s made a big difference at our site and in the community and can be easily replicated at any PPG facility in the world.
Daniel Vile, PPG color information support manager at Automotive Refinish, UK

Daniel helped launch the program in 2016 with support from the contractor. The cigarette butt recycling effort is just one environmental programs that benefits the Stowmarket community. The site also donates wooden pallets that are beyond repair to a local organization, Men’s Shed, who provide carpentry training to older adults and those with disabilities. Some of the items made by trainees, such as benches or planters, have been integrated into local COLORFUL COMMUNITIES® projects.

A Great Local Accomplishment

Since the program started,the outside areas have been vastly improved, and the site encourages other local businesses to buy into the scheme. The reactions have been exceptionally positive, and when people learn about how you can recycle cigarette waste, they are surprised! This is a program that will be continued for many years to come.
There are many measures in place to reduce waste on site, but this is part of our production waste management and sustainability program whereas the cigarette butt recycling is a quite unique venture.
Tony Ragosta, PPG raw material process specialist, site community team Stowmarket, UK