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A systematic review on cigarette butt management as a hazardous waste and prevalent litter: control and recycling


Annually, over 5.5 trillion cigarettes are produced worldwide, and it is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts (CBs) are still being littered in the world. The dispersal of the CBs has caused this hazardous waste to be considered as one of the most important litters and environmental risks all over the world. This systematic study with the search protocol definition and keyword identification was developed to find the CBs control and recycling methods by searching in five scientific databases. Founded articles were monitored and finally, 35 related articles were selected and studied by the authors. The results of this study showed that CBs recycling methods have been tested in 10 specific categories all over the world. The CBs have been applied without any pre-processing methods in the bricks and asphalt production. However, other applications of the CBs such as the absorbent material production, vector control, and use as a biofilm carrier in wastewater treatment need various processing methods. The researchers also presented models and suggestions such as taxes, penalties, and public education for the control of CBs littering. Despite the innovative methods applied for the CBs recycling in previous studies, CBs have not received much attention in terms of pollutant control and environmental issues in recycling processes.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support given by the Research Center for Environmental Health Technology, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (Grant Number 96-04-212-31925).

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Correspondence to Mahdi Farzadkia.

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Torkashvand, J., Farzadkia, M. A systematic review on cigarette butt management as a hazardous waste and prevalent litter: control and recycling. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26, 11618–11630 (2019).

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  • Cigarette butt
  • Cigarette filter
  • Hazardous waste
  • Litter
  • Waste management
  • Recycling