New Orleans putting discarded cigarette butts in better place with rollout of recycling effort

In New Orleans, discarded butts are being turned into something useful.

The first of 50 cigarette butt recycling receptacles was installed at a downtown intersection Monday. Developers of the program say the large-scale recycling effort launched in Canada last year.

Trenton, New Jersey- based recycling company TerraCycle Inc. is working with city officials and says New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate.

TerraCycle spokesman Albe Zakes says the company turns leftover organic materials such as tobacco and paper into compost. The filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic. They are melted into plastic pellets for industrial use in the same way a plastic bottle would be recycled.

Zakes says New Orleans will be paid $4 for each pound of cigarette waste collected.