Tom Deininger has found a way to green up waste that is lying everywhere on the streets. He uses cigarette butts in some of his upcycled art projects. The above sculpture entitled "Filter Rabbit" uses the unraveled filters of smoked cigarettes to create a furry appearance to the bunny. It obviously smells strongly of tobacco but looks completely adorable. The filters really do give the rabbit a much needed realistic touch of fur.
This piece, aptly titled "Shell" is comprised of cigarette butts that the artist found in parking lots near the beach in Rhode Island. The butts are unrecognizable from a distance as anything besides alternating colors. Close up, the ugly truth becomes more apparent. It's amazing how a true artist can see raw materials in a different way than the average person. One person sees garbage and the next sees hope for that garbage's regeneration.
Cigarette butts contain plastic and can persist in the environment for as long as other pieces of plastic can. It seems as though they litter the ground everywhere you go outside even though smoking itself is becoming more and more taboo. The cigarette butts are full of chemicals which leech into waterways and the animals which eat them.
Upcycled art such as this is a hot green trend right now. Not only does work like this change our thinking about what is garbage and what is not, it brings awareness to the problems of litter, waste and sustainable design ideas.