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Cigarette Butts & Crows? This Dutch Company’s Idea Could Help India Tackle Our Waste Crisis

Cigarette Butts & Crows? This Dutch Company’s Idea Could Help India Tackle Our Waste Crisis

Industrial designers Ruben van der Vleuten and Bob Spikman came up with the ingenious idea when they saw one man train the crows retrieve coins.

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Almost all Indian streets have two things in common.

A murder of crows cawing and an innumerous number of cigarette butts littering the streets. How are the two related?

There is a connection and it could help end one of the major crises faced by municipality workers—collecting cigarette butts that are strewn all over the roads.

Crowded Cities, a Dutch startup has come up with a revolutionary idea that trains crows to pick the used filters and drop them in ‘crowbars’. With every butt they drop, the crows get rewarded with food!

The ingenious method. Source: Crowded Cities.

Industrial designers Ruben van der Vleuten and Bob Spikman came up with the ingenious idea when they saw one man train the crows retrieve coins. Realising that the birds were much smarter than commonly perceived, the duo decided to incorporate the behaviour to a more lucrative purpose.

Not only did the birds join the dots between litter and food, the duo observed that they spread the word amongst their peers as well. And thus the venture was born!

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You may also like: Cigarette Butts Could Soon Help in Road Construction, Instead of Just Adding to the Litter!


The plastic in the cigarette butts take at least 12 years to degrade. Imagine the extent of damage already caused to the environment, given the huge number of smokers India has.

If the initiative were to be started in India, not only would it help in disposing the littered cigarette butts, but it would also ease the workload on garbage collectors.

To know more about Crowded Cities, you can click here.

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