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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – The first of 50 cigarette-recycling containers were place around downtown New Orleans Tuesday as part of a pilot program to keep city streets cleaner.

The Downtown Development District and the city teamed up to bring the brand new program to New Orleans. New Orleans is the first city in the United States to implement a city-wide collection system.

The program will act as an extension of TerraCycle’s Cigarette Waste Brigade – a  nationwide, mail-in recycling program that is sponsored by Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company. Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company will cover all costs related to the program including, installation, emptying receptacles, maintenance, and collection.

As a reward, for every pound of cigarette waste collected from the program, TerraCycle will donate $4 to Downtown Development District.

“One of the things that make us proud of this program is that it really hits on so many cylinders of what the DDD is about,” said DDD President & CEO Kurt Weigle.

“Addressing the cigarette butt litter problem is key to that effort. In a single day our Clean Team collected 6,781 cigarettes butts on the sidewalks of downtown. This is why a few years ago we launched our Walk Your Butt to the Can campaign, as a prevention program designed to raise awareness to this problem; so, we are thrilled to build on that effort by partnering with the city and TerraCycle in this unique pilot program. We are especially pleased that the recycling fits in with our mission to promote a green Downtown.”

“We’ve heard loud and clear that people want easy and convenient ways to keep our streets and public spaces clean,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “This innovative recycling pilot project is a great example of how we are forming new partnerships to reduce waste, provide job opportunities, and keep New Orleans beautiful.”

Cigarette butts collected through the nationwide program and now in New Orleans are recycled into a variety of industrial products, such as plastic pallets. Any remaining tobacco will be repurposed via tobacco-specific composting methods.

cigarettes butt recycling