Staten Island Advance
Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by Mark D. Stein
Arden Heights, Staten Island, N.Y. One businessman has a plan to put the butts out for good. Literally.
Nicholas Gabbidon, president of a new company on the South Shore, is in the process of marketing a device that not only accepts discarded cigarettes, but makes sure they don’t infect the environment after they’re tossed aside.
The Arden Heights resident’s product stores cigarette butts in a wall-mounted receptacle outside of more than 300 businesses, currently in Chicago, Manhattan, Queens and the Ironbound Business District (IBD) in Newark. Sixty-two devices were added to Newark recently, said Gabbidon.
In addition to keeping areas where people often smoke cigarettes clean, the device is free to business owners looking to maintain a positive presentation outside their bar or restaurant, said Gabbidon. How so? Gabbidon’s device features room for advertisements.
"If you’re a business owner, we’ll give you this beautiful, well-designed cigarette receptacle, and you’ll have less cigarette waste in front of your establishment," said Eco-Tech Displays spokesman Larry Dell.
But here’s the kicker: A portion of the cash made on the advertisements goes to the owners.
"We saw this as the next wave of outdoor media," said Gabbidon, who is hoping to get the device outside movie theaters, airports, malls and more. "We’re not condoning smoking. We’re trying to educate people on being ‘greener,’¤" added Gabbidon, who runs the business out of his home, as well as a marketing company, National InStore Media.
He said cigarette butts take 15 years to deteriorate, and in the process, leave toxins in garbage and water.
"It’s keeping the litter of cigarette butts off the ground and out of the environment," said the former smoker.As of now, Gabbidon is storing butts in a warehouse until he finds a recycling company looking to take them away.
"As soon as they launch their programs," Gabbidon said of three potential companies, "we’re going to provide them with cigarette waste. "They can form the plastic from the filters into a variety of different products," said Dell, citing lawn furniture or park benches. "Anything you would think of as plastic."
Gabbidon, a resident of Staten Island for almost 40 years, stumbled upon the device while he was traveling in Europe. "As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with it," he said, noting that he’s imported more than 500 so far. The device is simple to maintain, and only needs a key to unlock the receptacle to empty the butts.
"Our mission right now is to approach the cities, the business improvement districts, the community boards, because everyone has a ‘going green’ initiative on how to keep their environment clean," said Gabbidon.
"We don’t condone smoking. We don’t advocate it," said Dell. "But until it’s completely eliminated — and I don’t think that’s going to happen, at least in the near future — something has to be done with the cigarette waste."
For more information, visit www.eco-techdisplays.com.