'Wildlife Gadget Man' sends thousands of littered cigarettes back to tobacco companies
PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 October 2019
An Ipswich man determined to rid the town's streets of cigarette butts has shipped thousands of littered leftovers to the British American Tobacco company.
Jason Alexander, self-proclaimed 'Wildlife Gadget Man' and founder of Rubbish Walks CIC has waged war against those who litter - having collected more than 500,000 cigarette butts from the town's roads and paths this year alone.
But above all plastic products littered in Suffolk, the 48-year-old has set his sights on cigarette butts and is putting pressure on tobacco companies to "do the right thing".
Rather than sending all of the 1,000,000 cigarettes he aims to collect to the large tobacco corporations in the UK, Mr Alexander has instead sent smaller boxes of no more than 1,000 to companies - whether the boxes actually contain cigarettes they produced or not.
British and American Tobacco, the first company he sent a box to, said it is not responsible for other companies' cigarettes.
Mr Alexander said he was inspired by a surge of people sending plastic shopping waste back to supermarkets following a national TV programme.
He added: "There is no longer a free option for people in the UK to recycle cigarette butts, and that isn't on.
"It would cost me more than £12,000 to recycle the butts I've collected this year and that is ridiculous - so by sending the boxes to the companies I want them to help fund recycling schemes in the UK, or failing that we could try lobbying the government to make it into law.
"There comes a time when people have to do the right thing and that time is now."
Mr Alexander, who is also launching a new cigarette bin company on Monday, said he does not have an issue with people smoking and accepts people's right to do what they want to do, but his patience stops when people break the law. He added that although some may find opening up a box of cigarettes disgusting, it serves as a stark reminder of the problem at hand.
He said: "What I would love to see is for the big companies to come together and try to work out a solution with us, rather than acting as if they do not have a role to play in this issue."
A spokeswoman for British and American Tobacco said: "It is important that smokers dispose of cigarette butts in a responsible way."