Crows to help clean cigarette butts in Sweden

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A Swedish company, Corvid Cleaning, is recruiting crows who will help clean the streets of Södertälje by looking for cigarette butts. Wild crows will be trained and rewarded with food to clean up the city. The cigarette butts collected will be dumped into machines designed by Corvid Cleaning.

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According to Christian Günther-Hanssen, the founder of Corvid Cleaning and the man at the forefront of the cleaning program, this method of waste collection can reduce cleaning costs by 75%. Furthermore, Günther-Hanssen says the program will not force birds to participate. Instead, the birds will be encouraged by a system that feeds them for each cigarette butt deposited.

Related: This startup is training crows to throw away cigarette butts

According to the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation, more than 1 billion cigarette butts are left on the streets of Sweden every year. This waste represents about 62% of all rubbish on the street. The foundation adds that Södertälje spends 20 million Swedish kronor (about $ 2.2 million) to clean the streets.

Because of their intelligence, New Caledonian crows are being targeted for the program. Research suggests that these birds have the reasoning ability of a seven-year-old human and can be trained to perform certain tasks.

“They are easier to teach and there is also a greater chance that they will learn from each other. At the same time, there is a lower risk that they will eat any rubbish incorrectly, ”said Günther-Hanssen. “The estimate for the cost of picking up cigarette butts today is about 80 öre [Swedish change] or more per cigarette butt, some say two crowns. If the crows pick up cigarette butts, it might be 20 öre per cigarette butts. The savings for the municipality depend on how many cigarette butts the crows pick up. ”

The project will start with a pilot phase in Södertälje. Tomas Thernström, waste strategist at Södertälje Municipality, said: “It will be interesting to see if it can work in other environments as well. Also from the perspective that we can teach crows to pick up cigarette butts but we can not teach people not to throw them on the ground. It’s an interesting thought. ”

Via The Guardian

Manage image via Pixabay

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