Project: Beat the Butt

Since young age, the awareness of the importance of a healthy ecosystem, echoed in Carla’s mind. By doing small changes in her daily life from changing her diet or reducing and scaling down in her everyday life, the impact of our habits became a subject that gained more and more attention in her life. Having a background in Biological Engineering, PhD and Post Doc in Bioinformatics for Sustainable biofuels, her eagerness to go from science-to-action grew more than ever. As such, she is currently working in Innovation and Entrepreneurship in order to boost ideas out of paper, and why not, her own ideas? 


The Beat the Butt is a project that will tackle the cigarette butts problem, which is the most pollutant litter in the planet. Beat the Butt is an integrated solution that will provide smokers with the equipment and infrastructure they need in order to support them in discarding the butts appropriately. 

We will do that by developing an innovative cigarette case holder with a cigarette butt ashtray incorporated (the Butty case). The infrastructure will be a collaboration with the EcoPontas project who have developed a butt collector. We will establish a Pilot project in one of the most iconic neighbourhoods in Lisbon (Bairro Alto/Cais do Sodré) to implement the first Butt Free neighbourhood. The collected butts will be transformed into bricks (on an ongoing project), closing the loop of the life cycle of the butts. There are several positive impacts in this project: environmental impacts (the toxicity and the plastic contamination), economic by having a more clean city, social by empowering and informing new generations but also in the transformation and development of new products creating a circular economy. 

Although I was never a smoker, the cigarette butts on the floor were something that frustrated me immensely. When I started to research more about it, I realised that the butts were made of plastic and were highly toxic. By knowing that something needed to change, I decided to tackle this issue by supporting the smokers and empowering them, instead of condemning them. 


I do not think I have ever felt so strong about making a project happen as I feel about this one. Although it may seem simple or not technological enough, the impact that this project will have, if successfully implemented, will be incredible, and therefore all the help from the program but also from the individuals are of the utmost importance. Alone I can go faster but together I can go further!