Abbas Mohajerani—the same engineer who figured out how to make ordinary-looking bricks out of cigarette butts—has turned his research to trapping cigarette waste in roadways. Working with his team at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, Dr. Mohajerani has developed a way to mix cigarette butts into asphalt, simultaneously containing the butts’ toxic load while reducing the heat conduction of the pavement.
“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,” Mohajerani said in a statement.
Mohajerani estimates that some 1.3 million tons of cigarette butts trash is created around the world every year. The ubiquity of roads and the need for constant repaving make them an ideal medium to trap trash—one Scottish startup is even paving roads with recycled plastic. Stay tuned.