Ajmal Sataar, Kathleen Kemp, Neil Gangal and alumnus Adam Tomaszewski are hoping to clean up, in more ways than one, as they take unwanted cigarette butts and turn them into profits.

The venture is still at the idea stage, but a six-minute pitch on the idea won top honours over the weekend at Launch Some Good, an entrepreneurial competition with a world-betterment twist.

The group plans to create specialized cigarette collection bins and sell a collection service. For extra world-improvement points, the collection jobs will be held by mentally ill people through transitional employment programs. Options for unloading the butts include turning them into insulation or giving them to a company in New Jersey that makes furniture from them.

The company also hopes to create a revenue stream from advertising on its butt containers. In order to stimulate public interest, those containers would automatically count the number of butts going in and would be operated on solar power, the group says.

Cigarettes might not seem like a growth industry, but Sataar says at the moment butts are still the world’s most common type of litter, so there should be plenty of business to do. There’s also the question of how big a priority such environmentalism will be for smokers, but they’re hoping smokers’ guilt will be a powerful force.

Read the full article on the Ottawa Citizen’s website. [This link is no longer available]