A Dutch Company Is Training Crows to Clean Up Cigarette Butts

Tom Coggins

A Dutch start-up has unveiled a brand new way to decrease the number of cigarettes butts littering city streets, which involves training crows to collect and deposit discarded filters into special containers.

According to the company in question, Crowded Cities, around six billion cigarettes are thrown onto the street in the Netherlands every year. Not only are cigarette butts literally everywhere, but they are also notoriously difficult to clean up and take around 10 years to break down if they aren’t disposed of properly. This issue effects every city in the world to varying degrees and even though many municipalities have attempted to remedy the situation through various means, this type of littering is still a huge problem.

Instead of looking towards human intervention, the people at Crowded Cities realised that it might be easier to employ urban crows to clean up after absentminded smokers. These pervasive, black birds are among the smartest members of the animal kingdom and studies have shown that they possess advanced problem solving skills and are even able to wield basic, beak-sized tools. In fact, training crows to perform certain tasks is surprisingly easy, as the birds respond particularly well to reward systems.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article