MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – According to CDC over 30 million people smoked cigarettes in the United States in 2020. But what happens to all of those cigarette butts? Margaret Brumm, a citizen volunteer in Marquette has taken matters into her own hands to ensure cigarette butts are disposed of properly and in an eco-friendly way.

“What we’re trying to do here is set up a station so that people can come in off Wright street, pull into a spot, go over to these buckets, dump an ashtray and the cigarette butts will never hit the ground,” Margaret Brumm, a Citizen Volunteer said. “The cigarette butts then get collected and so it doesn’t get into the ecosystem and it doesn’t end up in a landfill. We then send the cigarette butts to an address in Illinois that recycles them for free.”

While attending a meeting at the Board of Light and Power, Brumm said their parking lot is perfectly designed for traffic flow and asked if she could set up her cigarette recycling buckets.

Margaret Brumm and Matthew Zavislak showing off their collaborative efforts to collect cigarette butts from motorists.

“When Margaret brought the buckets by I kind of looked at it and went, ‘How can I make this stand out a little bit more?’, Matthew Zavislak, Manager of Administrative Services for the Board of Light and Power said. “The result is what you see behind me and basically it just took some wood that was leftover from projects at my house, and this is what came of it.”

“He’s the one who took two buckets and made it look like a professionally built station,” Brumm said. “On his own time and with his own lumber and expertise. He’s one of my new hero volunteers for the City of Marquette.”

This is just the beginning of what Brumm is hoping to accomplish with her cigarette recycling initiative.

“When good people get together and say ‘We are going to do something about this!’ It’s amazing what happens that you never expected would happen,” Brumm said. “Last year, the whole bit of cigarette recycling that we did in the city was over 89,000 cigarette butts, and just imagine that going anywhere in a landfill or in the lake all at once. It would have been horrible.”

The cigarette recycling cans can be found at the Marquette Board or Light and Power on Wright Street in Marquette. Brumm stresses that these buckets are to be used for cigarette butts only.