SOWAT portable ashtray

Any environmentally friendly invention has to be admired. We can all realise the use and relevance of the solar panel, the wind turbine and the electric car because it is obvious to even the most lay of planet-keeper that what they are doing is essentially good; that there is worth in their existence. Beneath such obvious examples, there is a whole industry of products being invented by eco-minded individuals desperate to do their bit to help save the world whilst making a sly buck. Thus, it is just as important that we recognise the job that they are trying to do, and that if all these inventions did click and become household names then it’s a bit more likely that we’ll still have a half-decent planet kicking around in 200 years.


Joining this industry is the SOWAT ashtray a portable ashtray from France. The SOWAT (standing for Smoke Only With AshTray) is basically a plastic holder/clip for your fag packet. You slip your packet in and, running adjacent of the back of the pack is a small pop-out tray. This, in theory is where you stash your smoked cigarettes, which you can then dispose with later in an appropriate place. And therein lies the raison d’être of the SOWAT; it is there to stop the everyday smoker putting their 11 o’ clock fag out in the street. According to the press release, some 7,000 cigarettes are dropped in the Square Mile every day, whilst a mind-boggling 845,000 tonnes of butts are discarded worldwide every year. C2C, the Lyon-based team behind the SOWAT wanted to end this and accordingly, after carrying out what they describe as ‘extensive studies of smokers behaviour’, have developed this wee (1.05 ounces heavy) gadget that will rid our streets and rivers of fag-ends as smokers worldwide do the diligent thing and put their C-Sticks back in their pockets.

Of course, the only problem I can see with the device is that smokers (and bear in mind I am one) are among the most self-centred, most foolish band of brothers and sisters on the planet. They are, lets not forget, regularly doing something that very well might kill them sometime in the not-so-distant future. If they care so little about themselves, are they really going to inconvenience themselves to carry around a little device that looks like its been designed for drug dealers to smuggle their quarry into nightclubs? Of course they’re not. Still, the good people behind SOWAT have created a device that reduces smokers’ damage to the planet and that is no bad thing.