Cigarette butts make up nearly 25% of collected garbage which degrade and allow chemicals like cellulose acetate to enter the earth and groundwater.
It’s rare that we come across an environmentally-friendly alternative to a common item that just isn’t beneficial. More often than not, anything that can reduce the carbon footprint that’s placed upon the earth even the smallest amount is a step in the right direction. A new innovation tests this ideology and that’s because it promotes harm to the human race while improving the environment.
GreenButts has produced cigarettes that don’t have the same toll upon the environment when the filters are tossed aside. In fact, the biodegradable cigarette filters do environmental good; if they find their way into soil they have components that will eventually grow a tree.
In support of GreenButts, it’s possible to argue that smoking is a personal choice. Tobacco may be harmful to an individual’s health, but they’re not causing irreparable damage to a world that future generations will have to live with. They’re simply polluting their own lungs and perhaps also those of their closest loved ones. Looking at green cigarettes from this perspective puts the issue on a smaller scale than the environmental damage that is caused by the discarding of billions of cigarette filters every year by those who, despite the repercussions to themselves and the environment, will continue to choose to smoke. It might not be possible to make people stop smoking, but with green cigarettes, it can lead to environmental good rather than degradation.
Unfortunately, it’s also the environmental good that can be used as an argument against the production of GreenButts and it’s a simple one. Can it not be said that by making smoking an even more positive experience, it’s encouraging people to continue to smoke? They might help reduce the toll to the environment while risking the health of the population, in turn putting the environmental health before that of the human race.
There are other arguments that could be spoken to with regards to this issue as well, such as the negative effects of cigaratte smoke upon the environment. But, for the sake of this debate, let’s see it at face value and focus merely upon the effects of the butts.
Share your thoughts. Is GreenButts an environmental concept going too far? Or is it simply a realistic environmental alternative for something that we cannot change?
Image Credit: stevendepolo via flickr under a CC License