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Flowers and plants from the butts of cigarettes: the experiment of Capannori, in Lucca
They could become tiny “flower beds” able to grow a seeds of ornamental plants or sheets to be used for the frames of the glasses . From Tuscany to Lazio, the research engages in the challenge of giving a second life to the butts of cigarettes , the ones that haunt the environment, in spite of the bans and fines of up to 300 euro for those who throw on the sidewalks, at the edges of the roads, at the exit of the cinema, the restaurants. In short, everywhere. So small and so bulky, the “butts” are not an emergency. In the latest survey on the condition of urban parks, Legambiente puts the butts in the first place among the trash that infest the green: represent 37%. The situation is similar in the beaches, where are to be found in fourth place after the pieces of plastic, styrofoam and bottles. The filters are moreover a long life, calculated between 5 and 12 years and often become bait toxic to birds. In Tuscany, this is the party for a few weeks, a project to transform the butts in the “incubators” of seeds, a kind of “soil” for hydroponic (i.e. without land) of sunflowers dwarf or other plants that are not food.

the Two laboratories involved: one is the Centre Avanzi, university of Pisa in collaboration with the Cnr, and the other is the open air laboratory that is the Municipality of Capannori, in the province of Lucca. For years, in this piece of Tuscany that is home to large settlements of the paper industry (it is the most important european pole) to carry out environmental policies on the recycling of waste. The most recent is this: rebuild the remains of the cigarettes, turning them from problem to a resource, from waste to material suitable for the cultivation of flowers and in biofuel. The project is called Focus, the Filter of cigarettes reUse Safely) and will have the duration of three years. Is based on a bankroll of just 140 thousand euros, coming in half by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca, the rest from the university of pisa and from the same Town of Capannori. “We will put the baskets out by a dozen of restaurants or other night – says the mayor, Luca Menesini – we will arrange the collection of cigarette butts which are then processed by the researchers and apply fines to those who throw such waste on the ground.” The research project is in the sign of the circular economy: the flowers and the shrubs that will be born by the stump (will be of native species) will be transplanted just in Capannori and surroundings.

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