For many, cigarettes are quite useful when it comes to reducing stress. When ones sad, they smoke; when ones feel lonely, they smoke; when ones have too much work that they cannot finish in time, they smoke, etc. There are tons of reason to smoke, but is there any reason to throw the cigarette butts on the street, into the river when they’ve done smoking? Yes, it is convenient.
For this convenience, almost two-thirds of 5.6 trillion cigarettes that are produced each year can be found everywhere on Earth. This number makes cigarette butts the most harmful trash in the world, even more dangerous then plastics.
Realized how dangerous this kind of trash can be, Katie Peck, an artist graduated from Chapman University in Orange, has turn the waste cigarette butts into valuable statues.
“It really didn’t take that long to fill up a gallon, reusable bag,” Katie Peck said. “I can fill that up in about 30 minutes.”
At this year’s California Coastal Cleanup Day, Katie will showcase her work of art when thousands of volunteers spending hours to clean up the coast, park and waterways of Huntington Beach.
The work of miracle
From 1988 to 2016, it is estimated that 7.3 million of cigarette butts have been picked up, taking up 35% of the trash found in that period.
For Huntington Beach, the trash picked up here was for the making of art pieces. Interestingly, the young artist has start picking up these cigarette butts last summer all by herself. She also collected the left over from other cleanup groups such as Orange Counsty Coastkeeper.
“People are dropping them outside of the car windows; you can find them on the sidewalk that bumps up to the beach and the gutters,”she said. “By the trash cans – they were super close to making it into the trash, but don’t quite make it there.”
You can literally find it anywhere.
When the waste cigarette butts are not trash anymore
“I think it’s exciting when you have an opportunity to display trash in a different way, rather than in a garbage can,” she said. “Putting a spin on it and having it be a different story line.”
Last year, she has made a sculpture from a variety of trash that she found around the beach.
“I started getting interested in art out of garbage and trash along the coast,” she said. “It got me in the world of science, and other artists, and I’ve been continuing on that path.”
“Microfibers are being found in sand and water and in fish,” she said. “We’re all still trying to figure out what it means and its effects on sea life. Those conversations are happening, but it’s new.”
When she originally began working on her trash-turned-art projects, she felt overwhelmed about the enormous scale effect of the rubbish she was finding on the shoreline.