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Bridgestone Arena Among First in U.S. to Recycle Cigarette Butts

Friday, 02.21.2014 / 1:53 PM CT / News
By Press Release  - Nashville Predators
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Bridgestone Arena Among First in U.S. to Recycle Cigarette Butts

Nashville, Tenn. – Through a partnership with the Nashville Clean Water Project, Bridgestone Arena is set to become one of the first venues in North America to collect and recycle used cigarette butts. Nashville Clean Water Project’s new recycling program, The Cigarette Waste Brigade®, is a partnership program with the international upcycling and recycling company TerraCycle, which takes difficult-to-recycle-packaging and turns it into affordable, innovative products.

“The participation of the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena shows exceptional community leadership,” Mark Thien, Executive Director of the Nashville Clean Water Project (operating nationally as Water City USA), said. “We hope organizations throughout the country will follow their lead and join our no-cost program.”

Following their collection, cigarette butts in the TerraCycle program are recycled into a variety of products, with most being turned into plastic pallets for industrial usage. TerraCycle, founded in New Jersey in 2001, is a world-wide leader in the collection and reuse of non-recyclable post-consumer waste. Working primarily with products that would otherwise be headed for landfills across the country; the company leads the charge in converting new materials from waste, such as cigarette butts.

“We’re proud of our building and our community, and we are taking this opportunity to set an example in Music City and show how simple it can be to help reduce litter and maintain clean water,” Chris Parker, Nashville Predators Executive Vice President, said. “Bridgestone Arena’s participation in this project continues to support our mission to be at the forefront of the industry and be the ‘No. 1 sports and entertainment venue in the United States.’”

The program is a simple one: Arena staff collects discarded cigarette butts from outside the arena on sidewalks and in plaza areas where smoking is permitted following Nashville Predators home games and Bridgestone Arena concerts. With postage paid by TerraCycle, the boxes of collected butts route to a plant in New Jersey for recycling.

“Our Cigarette Waste Brigade® has the potential to transform public spaces across the county, drastically reducing the amount of litter that is discarded,” Tom Szaky, TerraCycle CEO and Founder, said. “Furthermore, The Cigarette Waste Brigade® will provide a solution for the filters that are properly disposed of in an ashtray or can, but today still end up in a landfill.”

The Nashville Clean Water Project recently joined with TerraCycle to recycle cigarette butts all across Music City. Cigarette butts, which are not biodegradable, account for 38 percent of all U.S. roadway litter and top the list of items polluting America’s waterways and oceans worldwide.

As rain falls in Middle Tennessee, cigarette butts resting in streets intersections and gutters are pushed into storm drains which flow directly to fresh water streams and rivers, and eventually all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

Since collection began in mid-December, Bridgestone Arena has collected an estimated 30,000 cigarette butts, weighing nearly 30 pounds, making it one of the first venues in the United States to actively recycle the cigarette waste found in and around the building. The project is just a small part of the work that the Nashville Clean Water Project is doing to clean waterways around Music City; they hope to raise awareness for the new recycling project and encourage other venues and professional sports teams to get involved.

About the Nashville Clean Water Project

As Middle Tennessee's emerging watershed organization, the 501(c)3 Nashville Clean Water Project is connecting local residents to solutions that enable cleaner water. Their many unique programs include a cigarette butt recycling program, an over-the-counter and prescription drug reclamation program, youth education programs, and the largest and longest standing annual water cleanup campaign in Tennessee's history. The Environmental Protection Agency says Davidson County suffers from 240 linear stream miles of impaired rivers and streams. Other Middle Tennessee businesses interested in the non-profit’s cigarette waste recycling program are encouraged to email Butts@NashvilleH2o.org. For more information, visit Facebook/NashvilleCleanWaterProject, Twitter.com/NashvilleH2o or NashvilleH2o.org.

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