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Cigarette Butts: Fodder for the Future's Green Tech?

Korean researchers may have uncovered an innovative use for tar-stained filters.
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Smokers, do not use this as an excuse to puff more, but science has found a possible planet-friendly use for your tar-stained butts. When given a simple chemical treatment, Korean researchers say, old filters can help make energy-retaining capacitors that could be used in wind turbines, electric cars, and portable electronics.

Cigarette butts are a major source of litter throughout the world, with several trillion winding up in the environment each year. In the U.S., they're the most common form of litter scattered on streets, and worldwide they beat out any other trash stinking up beaches and in waterways. And they don't just sit there harmlessly, slowly degrading; they leach out toxic chemicals and carcinogens, creating a risk for wildlife and marine systems.