PRINEVILLE, OR -- A San Francisco woman launched a campaign to get cigarette-makers to switch to biodegradable filters after attending the Symbiosis eclipse event at Big Summit Prairie, in Crook County.
Julie Mastrine has collected more than 12,000 signatures through an online Care2 petition and she's submitted her idea to Reynolds America, which sells 28% of cigarettes in the U.S. "The event was amazing and the people there were generally very conscious, wanting to protect the environment, and really respectful, but I did see cigarette butts littered, particularly around the campsites, so one of the other festival attendees noted this and she said, 'why don't cigarette companies make biodegradable filters?' and I thought that was a really good idea and started the petition because of that."
She said she was disheartened by the casualness of many smokers when it came to discarding their butts. "It's a very strange culture among not all but some cigarette smokers. 'Leave No Trace' is a mantra that's really a cornerstone in the festival culture, for festivals like Symbiosis or Burning Man or whatever, and people generally abide by that, I would say. But, among cigarette smokers there's this element of nonchalance about it that's really disturbing."
Because Mastrine believes that changing a product is much easier than trying to change the culture of smokers, she launched an online petition to request tobacco companies switch to biodegradable filters. "The companies themselves could just definitely be more mindful of the impact of their products - and that goes for any company, cigarettes or not cigarettes - if you could make your packaging more earth-friendly, then why wouldn't you do it?"
Globally, cigarette butts account for 1.7 million pounds of waste annually.