Dollywood, the theme park that celebrates musician and icon Dolly Parton and her hometown of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., has just unveiled benches made using plastic recycled from the filters on hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts, with Dollywood's 26 specially designed receptacles providing the biggest source of those butts.
Dollywood worked with environmental group Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTNRB), Keep Tennessee Beautiful, the Tennessee Valley Authority and American Eagle Foundation on the project.
The park is on the Pigeon River, which flows into the Tennessee River. Cigarette butts are consistently among the top items collected during beach cleanups, so collecting them early is important, KTNRB said in a news release on the project.
Keep Tennessee Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful donated the collection receptacles placed within designated smoking sections, and Dollywood created custom signage so they would blend in with the rest of the park. Since 2019, Dollywood has recycled the plastic from more than 250,000 cigarette butts.
"Dollywood has been recognized as one of the most beautiful theme parks in the world due, in part, to the beauty of East Tennessee," said Carol Agee, Dollywood senior manager of community affairs and strategic alliances. "It is vital for us to maintain this beauty by caring for our natural surroundings. Through our partnership with KTNRB, we are able to take hundreds of thousands of cigarette butts and remove them from the waste stream."