Featured Image for Crows are being trained to clean up after lazy smokers

Crows are being trained to clean up after lazy smokers

It’s a sad-but-true fact that more than four trillion cigarette butts are littered globally each year.

Cigarette butts are the most-littered item in the world, and one of the hardest to clean up. The filters inside cigarettes can also take up to 10 years to biodegrade.

The proliferation of dart ends is definitely a hard game to manage, but Dutch company Crowded Cities is taking steps to combat the problem with the help of a few friendly crows.

Annually, more than six million cigarette butts are tossed away in the gorgeous landscape of the Netherlands, so Crowded Cities is taking the unusual step of training their crow population to clean up the butts.

The Crowbar system sees crows trained to collect cigarette ends and fly them all the way to the Crowbar (a cigarette collection point) where the crows are then rewarded with food.

Ruben van der Vleuten and Bob Spikman are the genius brains behind the idea, but their inspiration came from Joshua Klein of the USA who trains crows to collect coins… Absolutely brilliant!

While death sticks remain legal for government revenue raising, we can only hope the rest of the world adopts systems this clever and eco friendly.

About the author

Bronte is a media student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). She enjoys music, fitness, and exploring the city.