In 2020, students of the “Dr. Medulio Pérez Fontana” of the Uruguay Study Program* (PUE), coordinated by teachers, requested collaboration from companies in the city and placed 28 ashtray containers in columns located in different parts of the city (highly frequented public places). Each container cost 590 pesos, back then.
The local initiative –like those existing in other parts of the country- has two objectives: care for the environment and contribute to recycling.
In 2020, when the containers were launched, the students told EL ECO (Edition of 10/17/2020) that “through a special recycling technique, it is possible to obtain a uniform and resistant plastic, which can to be used for the manufacture of everyday products”, in the case of eyeglass frames.
The environmental group that collects the butts from the containers is “Teko” (Montevideo), it removes the paper, the plastic, and uses the materials, among other things, to manufacture plastic frames for glasses, acetate plates and I think also ingredients for paintings,” said teacher Ana Tojo, when asked by EL ECO, because she accompanied the students in the project, along with other teachers: “Florencia Fernández, Victoria Suárez, Marité Boné, Maximiliano Villalba, and Mayra Buenahora.”
Tojo said that “two of the containers were ripped off, we found them lying around, and Maximiliano took them to the Independent Club, which was the institution that requested them.”
Juan Sartori proposes
The white senator and member of the Environment Commission, Juan Sartori, presented a bill, based on the “No more butts Uruguay” movement, for which he intends to install ashtrays (containers) in public places, in the case of hospitals. , bowling alleys, and restaurants, and if there is non-compliance, apply fines of 1 to 10 Resettable Units (UR) to individuals, and from 10 to 100 UR to public places.
Awareness of caring for the environment “will not be achieved only through the approval of the proposed regulation, but will require joint work with the Departmental Governments (at all levels), and the generation of environmental awareness in society, but it is a sign of momentum from the Legislative Power”, argued the senator.
5 million butts per day
According to data from the latest INE household survey, 20% of the adult population of Uruguay consumes tobacco. This represents approximately 500,000 people who identify themselves as smokers, with the health and environmental consequences that this implies. According to an evaluation, if an average smoker consumes up to ten cigarettes a day, 5,000,000 cigarette butts are generated per day in Uruguay, of which two out of three are thrown away by smokers.
*People who complete the basic cycle in one year, mainly adults.