Our cigarette butt supply is mainly collected by our street cleaning initiative The Butt Touchers: a bunch of funky citizens that decided to make a difference by cleaning up their neighbourhood. re:FILTER was formed by members of this Vancouver initiative: run by Andee Wiedeman (an avid festival volunteer) who brought home the dancefloor clean-ups she participated in at festivals. The events boast a park clean-up; complete with music, snacks and cleaning supplies.
This cigarette specific clean-up was inspired in August 2015 when we noticed an alarming amount of cigarette butts blocking the storm drain of a Commercial Drive corner. After participating in many events, we had a large network of environmentally conscious community members. We launched the event the same month and it was a smashing success; beginning as a street clean with dinner provided for the volunteers, followed by a live music after party to celebrate the event's success. As it grew, we turned to ?after-parties? once a year; only cleaning for 2-3 hours at each event to maintain the original celebratory and productive intentions of the event. The Butt Touchers have hosted three years of clean ups, distributing 500+ Pocket Ashtrays - and rehabilitating over 75,000 cigarette butts. While the Butt Touchin' events have evolved, the core values stay the same: radical responsibility and inspirational inclusiveness! Through providing snacks; gloves; buckets; bags; Pocket Ashtrays; music and a healthy social outlet for doing something accessible for your community, we have been able to nurture and grow a culture that offers a solution instead of shaming smokers, our fellow citizens, for their actions.