Jun Zhao, a Ph.D. student at the Xi’an Jiaotong University, has discovered that cigarette butts prevent rust in steel. Cigarette butts are some of the world’s most common trash. The chemicals they leak kill fish and damage the environment. Recycling rust-inhibiting cigarette butts can cut down on the pollution while preventing damage to steel.
China’s population includes about 30 percent of the world’s smokers which is roughly equal to the entire U.S. population. As the world’s largest tobacco grower and cigarette producer, rust-inhibiting cigarette butts are in plentiful supply.