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Cigarette companies must finance the management of cigarette butts.

Forty billion cigarette butts are thrown on the ground in France every year. While they are very toxic components, the filters are thrown away everywhere, in town and in the countryside. Since Tuesday, August 10, 2021, a European law requires cigarette manufacturers to finance the management of cigarette butts (awareness, collection and provision of ashtrays). The eco-organization Alcome has been chosen to collect the contributions.

The system of financial responsibility for the management of cigarette butts for communities.

The Law n° 2020-105 of February 10, 2020 relating to the Fight against Waste and the Circular Economy acts the implementation of a sector with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR sector) for “tobacco products” from January 1, 2021.

> What is an EPR system for tobacco products? 

The establishment of an EPR system implies that producers and manufacturers of tobacco products are responsible for the management of waste from these products. Once consumed, the cigarette becomes a butt, which is waste. The REP sector is therefore a sector regulated by the State for the management of waste from tobacco products, mainly cigarette butts. This implies that the producers take in charge financially the recourse to solutions of sensitization, and collection of cigarette butts for the communities.

An eco-organization, named Alcome, has been approved in 2021 to structure the sector. Alcome is the intermediary between the producers, the communities and the actors of the management of waste including cigarette butts. Alcome finances awareness-raising, the installation of ashtrays and the collection and recovery of cigarette butts thanks to a fund financed by the eco-taxes of producers.

> What to expect from the industry? What are Alcome’s missions? 

Reducing the number of cigarette butts on the ground

From a reference scenario (in theory year 2021), established through a study conducted, the objectives are as follows:

  • 20% reduction of butts at N+3
  • 35% reduction in cigarette butts at N+5
  • 40% reduction in cigarette butts at N+6

Ecodesign of tobacco products

Filter producers are being pushed to eco-design their products. Objective: absence of plastic in the composition of filters.

Management of cigarette butts as waste

Alcome finances beneficiaries according to a predefined scale, in proportion to the number of inhabitants in the community (an amount is allocated per inhabitant and per year) and the tourist character, or not, of the community. The financial support is paid directly to the community that contracts with Alcome (directly on the Alcome website).

The actors who can benefit from a support are the municipalities or community of municipalities having a delegation of waste management, according to the following typologies:

  • Urban: municipalities with a population greater than or equal to 5,000 and less than 50,000 permanent inhabitants for an amount of €1.08/inhabitant/year
  • Dense urban: municipalities with a population equal to or greater than 50,000 permanent inhabitants for an amount of €2.08/inhabitant/year
  • Rural: municipalities with a population of less than 5,000 permanent inhabitants for an amount of 0.50€/inhabitant/year
  • Tourist: urban or rural municipalities with certain criteria for an amount of €1.58/inhabitant/year

In total, a budget of 80 million euros will be allocated to the sector.

> What will this contribution fund?

Each community that has signed a contract with Alcome decides on the actions to be taken to reduce the number of cigarette butts on the ground in its territory.

What are the possible actions?

  • Awareness campaigns (posters, stands, etc.) to reduce the number of cigarette butts thrown on the ground
  • Street furniture: ashtrays, street furniture or other
  • Collections
  • The recycling of cigarette butts …

Alcome already provides free reusable pocket ashtrays to local authorities and tobacconists and conducts awareness campaigns. 5% of the contributions are, in addition, allocated to the support of awareness actions with the communes which make the request.

> What about the end of life of these butts and their treatment?

The eco-organization will support R&D (research and development) projects related to innovative collection solutions and material recycling solutions for butts. It provides 2% of funding for research projects on recycling solutions and cigarette butt collection.

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ÉcoMégot is a French company, resulting from the social and solidarity economy, which offers an innovative, complete, local and tailor-made solution for raising awareness, creating zero butt spaces, collecting and recycling cigarette butts in all of France (Lyon, Paris, Marseille, Toulouse, Bastia, Saint-Cloud, Monaco, Bordeaux, Pau ...). 

Our mission is to promote behavioral changes among citizens, employees and festival-goers with regard to cigarette butt pollution. We believe that the recycling of cigarette ends should serve the common awareness and thus create a virtuous circle carrying meaning.

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