Monaco bar lets you trade butts for beer

Stars’N’Bars is joining a new world-wide movement by rewarding the environmentally conscious with free beer and soft drinks. The initiative encourages people to collect cigarette butts from the port area and exchange them for a cool beverage.

The American-themed restaurant in Monaco is one of only a small number of bars across the globe to join the campaign. It recently started distributing glass jars to willing patrons, who will receive a 25cl beer or soda if the jar is returned filled to the brim with cigarette butts.

“Not a day goes by that we don’t see someone throw a cigarette butt on the floor or in the sea,” said Louise Svensson, head of the restaurant’s environmental and commercial division. “When we saw this campaign on social networks, we agreed that we should do it also.”

The Tibu-Ron Group, which operates several beach bars in Barcelona, has received media attention world-wide for also taking part in the campaign, while Zanzibar on Baga Beach, Goa, started offering free beer in February to patrons who came to the premises with old cigarettes and bottle caps.

But there’s no point in emptying your ashtray at home in the hopes of gaining a free beer at Stars’N’Bars. The goal is to collect those polluting the coast and around the port, therefore it is necessary that the bar provide the jars to fill.

While cleaning up the local area, the campaign also serves as a reminder of the negative impact of cigarette butts on the environment. According to a new report in scientific journal Current Environmental Health Reports, an estimated 4.5 trillion of the annual 6 trillion cigarettes sold worldwide do not end up in a dustbin or ashtray, but are simply flicked away along a roadside or on a pavement.

Cigarette butts, not plastic straws, are now believed to be the most pervasive form of plastic pollution on the planet, taking up to 10 years to decompose. The used filters are full of toxins which can leach into the ground and waterways, damaging living organisms that come into contact with them.

Stars’N’Bars are hoping that other business in Monaco will join the campaign.