Cigarette Butts could Soon Help in Road Construction

Reducing thermal conductivity and urban heat.


A cigarette as harmful for human health, it is also harmful to the environment. With huge amounts of cigarettes being bought, no doubt the amount of trash generated is also mind blowing. Similarly, the cigarette butt that discarded after smoking also does large environmental hazard. Cigarette Butts could soon help in road construction.

In reality, these cigarette butts are made from a synthetic polymer called Cellulose Acetate. They take almost 18 months and 10 years to completely decompose. According to an estimate, almost 1.3 million tons are littered on the sidewalks.

To overcome this major concern, a team from Australian RMIT University led by Dr. Abbas Mohajerani found a new solution. They bring out a new approach- they are using cigarette butts in developing roads.

The butts will be on the road but in the form of the sealed condition. Scientists will coat the butts in the paraffin wax and bitumen, a gooey, black oil-based substance and added to asphalt mixtures. After pressuring the mixture, they will use it as a road surface.

Although, it will depend on the density of butts and quality of bitumen. And unlike the concrete roads, these roads will withstand heavy traffic and heavy rain too.

Scientists have demonstrated a way through which they can effectively thermal conductivity. It could also effectively reduce the urban heat island effect common in cities.

Dr. Abbas said, “In this research, we encapsulated the cigarette butts with bitumen and paraffin wax to lock in the chemicals and prevent any leaching from the asphalt concrete. The encapsulated cigarettes butts were mixed with hot asphalt mix for making samples.”

“This research shows that you can create a new construction material while ridding the environment of a huge waste problem.”

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