Smoking hot UCD alum run business is on the rise, NoButts about it.
NoButts, a UCD alumni run business, aims to capture, and recycle to world’s polluting single use plastic – cigarette butts. Approximately 6.5 trillion cigarettes are smoked worldwide each year, each leaving behind a small plastic butt. Former UCD Economics student, Mikey Wylde, has taken the company from a daydream on the Belfield campus to anywhere butts appear. Inspired by the plethora of cigarette butts on UCD’s “smoke free” campus, Wylde took it upon himself to act.
NoButts’ business is simple; collect cigarette butts, recycle them, and sell the resulting plastic for repurposing as consumer goods. The company collects the ends of cigarettes in “stashtrays” – small bins installed in litter heavy locations. Metrics are then supplied to these sources, such as monthly reports on the number of butts collected and quarterly savings.
From these collection points, NoButts then sells the recycled plastic for repurposing. Wylde suggests that those who buy this plastic can subsequently boast that their customers will be “wearing x butts and [will be] further funding the collection of y butts”. He suggests that this is an “empowering claim” that is “only made possible by us having an end to end solution”.
The pandemic has not spared NoButts from its plight. Having originally targeted concert venues and the like as areas of high butt concentration, the company has had to go down a less conventional route. Prisons are one of the largest hubs for cigarette butts in the country, and NoButts has pounced upon this opportunity. A recent 50-day trial with Mountjoy prison saw 73,000 butts being recycled. A recent post on the company Instagram page cites all 8 Irish prisons as potential customers to lock in.
Wylde’s passion for the job clearly goes further than business. He highlights the fact that the government makes more in tax revenue than any other products, and that “the money is most definitely available to support solutions”. In a similar vein, he recognises the fact that many students smoke and the problems that entails, while simultaneously urging them to dispose of their butt responsibly, adding “Inform your friends that the butt is plastic and doesn’t magically disappear.”
Wylde’s team currently includes five students across a range of disciplines. Anyone looking to get involved with ideas, part time work, or full time post-graduation can get in touch on [email protected].
Conor Bergin – Business Corespondent