Swedish company is training crows to clean up cigarette butts

A Swedish startup company is training crows to clean up cigarette butts off the streets. The birds are being recruited to pick up discarded butts from the streets of a city in Sweden as part of a cost-cutting drive.

The wild birds receive a little food for every butt they deposit in a machine designed by a startup in Södertälje.

The startup’s founder says the crows’ health is also being studied, and that the project could lead to savings of 75% of cleaning costs. “They are easier to teach and there is also a higher chance of them learning from each other,” Swedish newswire TT, per “At the same time, there’s a lower risk of them mistakenly eating any rubbish.”

Günther-Hanssen noted that the birds are not captured or forced to do the humans’ dirty work. ‘”They’re wild birds taking part on a voluntary basis,” he said.

More than a billion cigarette butts litter Sweden’s streets every year, making up more than 60 percent of the country’s rubbish problem, according to the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation. Günther-Hanssen believes the crows could save 75 percent of cleanup costs, depending on their haul.

He estimates the cost of a human picking up a cigarette butt at 80 öre ($0.09) each; a crow will do it for a quarter of the price. This would be calculated in snacks.

The success of Corvid Cleaning’s ambitious pilot project in the long-term will come down to financing, Tomas Thernström, a waste strategist at Södertälje municipality, told The Guardian.

“It would be interesting to see if this could work in other environments as well. Also from the perspective that we can teach crows to pick up cigarette butts but we can’t teach people not to throw them on the ground. That’s an interesting thought,” he said.




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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