When you need information about your financial needs, YNN's Tara Lynn Wagner brings it to you with
, which airs every Tuesday.
Money Matters: Smoking bans create green opportunity
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
According to Keep America Beautiful, cigarette butts are the single most littered item in the country.
Where some saw trash, CEO and Founder of EcoTech Displays Nicholas Gabbidon saw opportunity.
"When they stopped smoking inside, they created a big littering problem outside," Gabbidon said. "When we saw this we said, ‘You know everyone's going need an ash tray, so it was a perfect business for us to go into.’"
Gabbidon's company, EcoTech Displays, provides small receptacles to businesses where smokers tend to gather. The boxes are free, but the company isn't a charity. They make money by selling ad space in what they say are highly visible locations like outside of bars and restaurants.
"You may see hundreds, thousands of people here during the month, or during the week. Their crowd is basically younger people, young urban professionals and tourists, so if you want to meet those people with your product and who doesn't, well, we have the perfect way for you to come in contact with them," EcoTech Displays Communications Director Larry Dell said.
They are also working on a prototype material made from the collected cigarette butts: A post-consumer plastic that can be used to make any number of things like jewelry or guitar picks. It's a concept that's already spawned several businesses overseas.
"We found one gentleman who was filtering them and re-spooling them into wool to make clothing. Another company that was using them for oil pipes to coat the inside," Gabbidon said.
This is not just a new green material. The company is creating out of the discarded waste. They're also creating new green jobs.
With 160 units in and around New York City, and plans to expand nationwide, they say they'll need workers to install and maintain the boxes and sell the ad space, not to mention staff the plant where the collected butts will be recycled and re-purposed.
"Recyclables can create many, many jobs. You know, the cigarettes are just one thing that I'm sure there's so much litter that we discard and don't even realize that it can be recreated into something else and help create jobs all over the country," Gabbidon said.