Cigarette Butt Waste as an Environmentally Biodegradable Plastic


Cigarettes are paper cylinders with a length of about 70 mm – 120 mm with a diameter of 10 mm which contains chopped tobacco leaves and cork as a filter. From each cigarette, approximately 20% will be wasted as cigarette butts after being smoked by cigarette consumers. Cigarette butts are a lot of waste in the environment so they can damage the beauty of the environment. According to laboratory studies, there are chemicals such as arsenic, nicotine, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals that can pollute the environment.

Meanwhile, according to Keep American Beautiful, cigarette butts are the perpetrators of the most marine pollution with 21% of pollution in other oceans. With the large number of cigarette butts, it can cause environmental pollution that causes fish to die because of the presence of harmful substances in cigarette butts, for example nicotine. This danger of nicotine can be explained by the fact that 4 cc of nicotine is enough to kill a large rabbit (Haidar et al, 2010).

In addition, the use of plastic in everyday life has increased, which has led to environmental problems. The importance of awareness of environmental sustainability is a major factor in designing materials that are environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Bioplastics are materials that can be used, like conventional plastics, but bioplastics are easily decomposed by microorganisms. The use of bioplastics also provides positive benefits for environmental conservation by utilizing raw materials that are renewable and can be destroyed in the environment.
Plastic is one of the wastes that has become a problem in the environment as a form of entropy in solid form. It takes about 500-1000 years for plastic waste to break down completely. Plastic is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Along with the times, global warming is increasing and becomes a threat to every living thing. Data from the Environment Protection Body, an environmental agency in the United States, records that around 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. Based on data from the Ministry of Environment, the total volume of landfills in all districts and cities in In Indonesia, which reaches 666 million liters per year, around 14 percent is plastic waste. This shows that Indonesia is one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste in the world, especially when restrictions on the use of plastic bags have not been properly worked on by the government.
To break the chain of global warming, the use of environmentally friendly materials is one of the improvement efforts for the future, namely by making plastics with materials that are more easily degraded by microorganisms, with a balance of stability between the use of plastics and their degradation and a certain proportion of the materials from which the plastic originates. itself with degradable materials.

Raw materials that have the potential for making bioplastics can be obtained from cellulose biomass which is not utilized because it has high tensile strength. However, cellulose is insoluble in most solvents so that it cannot be directly processed into bioplastics (Rachmaniah et al., 2009). To form bioplastics, cellulose is acetylated with acetic anhydride to give cellulose acetate. Cellulose acetate is a type of natural polymer derived from cellulose which has an organized microfibrile structure that dissolves in various non-polar solvents.

Cellulose acetate has very good quality with good transparency, high tensile strength, heat resistance, low water absorption, and is easily degraded naturally. These properties make cellulose acetate very potential to be developed in the packaging, membrane and textile industries. Various studies have been carried out in Indonesia and other countries on the use of cellulose acetate, including for making films (Safriani, 2000), membranes (Bhongsuwan and Bhongsuwan, 2008), and composite materials (Tsioptisia et al., 2010). The application depends on the degree of esterification (degree of substitution) of cellulose acetate. (Puls et al., 2011).

The use of cellulose acetate as a polymer constituent of bioplastics is still minimal, even though bioplastics are needed as a substitute for conventional plastics. The physical properties of cellulose acetate are very potential for the manufacture of bioplastics. One of the wastes that contain cellulose acetate is the filter or cork in cigarettes, so far this waste is waste which is a problem today.


The purpose of writing this student’s scientific writing is:

1. Show the process of removing nicotine and other substances in cigarette butts?

2. Show the process of making biodegradable plastics from cigarette butts?

3. How is the result of the plastic made from cigarette butts?


The materials used in this study include:

a. Cigarette butt

b. Ethanol 95%

c. Glycerol

d. Aquadest

e. Acetone

The tools used include:

a. Beaker Glass

b. Drop pipette

c. Stirrer

d. Heating Stove

e. Reflux apparatus

f. Mould


1. Cleaning Cigarette Butts

To clean the Cigarette Butts do the following steps

1. Cigarette butts are separated between the filter and the tobacco part

2. The cigarette filter is then soaked in 95% alcohol and heated for about an hour with reflux

3. After using 95% alcohol, the cigarette filter is soaked in water / aqudest and boiled for about two hours with reflux

4. Dry the cigarette filter in the sun or in the oven

2. Manufacture of Biodegredable Plastic from Cigarette Butts

1. Weighed 1 gram of cigarette filter

2. Add as much as 10 ml of 50% acetone and stir until all cigarette filters late

3. Add 10 ml of distilled water and stir

4. Added plasticizer in the form of glycerol with a certain concentration

3. Plastic Properties Testing In plastic testing, it is done by measuring the strength and power of degredation by the soil

1.Plastics are tested for strength and elasticity

2. Plastics are tested for their permeability to water

3. Plastics are tested for their degradation by being heaped in the soil and observed within a few days


A. Cleansing Cigarette Butts From Nicotine and Other Ingredients

To make plastic from cigarette butts, the first step needed is to clean cigarette butts from other compounds that are harmful to cigarettes. First the cigarette butts are separated between the tobacco part and the filter or cork, after which the cigarette filter is cleaned by removing the wrapping paper and taking only the filter part.

Cigarette Butt Waste as an Environmentally Biodegradable Plastic

After obtaining the filter (cork) then it is soaked in water and heated (in reflux) for about 2 hours and left overnight or 12 hours which aims to remove water-soluble organic and inorganic compounds, after that the filtrate is removed and replaced or soaked again with ethanol 90 The% is then heated or refluxed for about one hour which aims to remove other organic or non-organic compounds that are soluble in organic solvents such as alcohol. Meanwhile, the cellulose acetate compound in cigarette butts filters is insoluble in water and alcohol

Cigarette Butt Waste as an Environmentally Biodegradable Plastic

After it cools, it is filtered and the filter is taken to dry it in the sun and ready to use, while the filter or water and alcohol from the reflux can be used for natural pesticides because it contains nicotine compounds that can kill insects.

B. Manufacture of Plastic from Cigarette Butts

To make plastic, 1 gram (approximately 5 cigarette butts) is put into the beaker, cigarette butts are a source of cellulose acetate and 10 ml of 50% acetone is added, this acetone functions as a solvent for the cellulose acetate polymer and is stirred until dissolved, when stirring with acetone is carried out slowly without heating, this is due to the volatile nature of the acetone solution, after dissolving 1 ml of glycerol is added, stirred with a stirrer until homogeneous, glycerol functions as a plastic or plasticizer that forms cellulose acetate from this cigarette butt elastic.

Cigarette Butt Waste as an Environmentally Biodegradable Plastic

After the mixture is homogeneous, dyes are added to enhance the color of the plastic, in this experiment 3 different plastic colors are made, as well as different concentrations of glycerol.

Cigarette Butt Waste as an Environmentally Biodegradable Plastic

C. Testing Results of Plastics Made

To test this plastic, hardness, elasticity, water permeability and biodegradation by soil bacteria were carried out. Because some of the existing equipment, physical methods are used for hardness testing, namely by pulling the plastic at both ends, the plastic made from cigarette butts filters is very strong. The concentration of glycerol also affects the elasticity of the plastic, the higher the concentration of glycerol the harder the plastic is formed.

Cigarette Butt Waste as an Environmentally Biodegradable Plastic

In addition, to test the plastic made, a waterproof test was carried out, in this experiment the plastic that was made could withstand water, while to test the biodegradation of plastics, the plastic was buried in the ground for several days, from the experimental results on plastic 6.72 grams after 30 days in grave to 5.42 grams. For plastic that weighs 4.19 grams after being buried for ten days it becomes 3.74 grams and plastic that weighs 3.94 grams after being buried for ten days becomes 2.94 grams. The results of the above experiment show that within 30 days of immersion into the soil, approximately 1 gram has been degraded.


Based on the research results, it can be concluded that:

1. Cigarette butts can be made into plastic by cleaning the cigarette filter from tobacco and the organic and inorganic compounds that are on the cigarette filter by heating it with aquadest and 95% ethanol

2. The filter that has been dried can be made plastic by dissolving it in 40% acetone and adding glycerol plastic

3. The tested plastic showed a fairly strong hardness, into the water and degreded approximately 1 gram in 30 days

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