Cecilia Leigh Howard
Where did the idea for Aer Tips originate?
During summer 2019, after attending the Garbicz music festival in Poland, I remained for a week to restore the nature preserve where the event was held. It was jolting, LITTERally, to find that the majority of trash we recovered was smoking-related. Cigarette butts, paper crutches, lighters, packaging, terrible. After some research, I learned that single-use filters are the most common source of litter on the planet. Typically made of plastic, cigarette butts end up in landfills and oceans; where animals ingest them and feed to their offspring. Up until then, I had striven to reduce my environmental footprint by going vegan and contributing to cleanup projects, but at that turning point I decided that instead of helping to recover plastic waste in the wild, I wanted to prevent it from being generated in the first place. Flash forward to fall 2019, when I met my co-founder Sarah Pavis at Antler, a NY based startup incubator. Our backgrounds were diverse, yet we shared a passion for innovation and sustainability. Ultimately, we decided to harness our engineering, medical and business backgrounds to make smoking cleaner for users, and kinder to the environment.
Where can you find/ buy them?
Given the chaos salad that is 2020, we have had to think creatively about how and where to launch. Ethnographic research and hundreds of user test sessions have taught us volumes about the habits, and preferences of smokers. One takeaway: word of mouth and personal experiences are everything. We have seen people, who were initially ‘meh’ about the concept, be converted into evangelists after experiencing the filters firsthand. As such, we are leveraging guerrilla marketing tactics to get our filters into the hands and hearts of environmentally-woke smokers. To gain feedback and enthusiasm from early adopters, we are partnering with premium pre-roll manufacturers in New York, LA and Berlin to launch initially via inclusion in pre-roll products that are already on the market.
We have also cultivated relationships with dispensaries, head shops and zero-waste boutiques in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, and New York. We aim to hit the shelves in brick and mortar shops this autumn. Finally, we are currently accepting pre-orders for the AerTip and AerGo at aer.cool.
How do you use it?
Our patent pending zero-waste filters replace the paper crutches or cellulose acetate filters you currently use in joints, spliffs or CBD rolls. Simply drop one of our filters into your paper and roll up your herb as normal. From the onset you will notice, unique shape of the filters make hand rolling easier. Next, spark up your hand-rolled creation. As you inhale your first puff, you will notice the smooth draw and cool temperature of the smoke.
Both, the AerTip and AerGo act as decanters, cutting harshness, reducing coughing, and enhancing the terpene flavors of your herb. The key difference between them is their composition. The AerTip is ceramic, easy to clean, and infinitely reusable. After a smoking sesh, stash the tip in our slim carrier which doubles as a cleaning case. The AerGo is a single-use filter, made of an organic, ethically sourced material. Use it once, then compost it. Super easy!
What are some of the benefits of smoking with sustainable filters?
Our filters meaningfully improve the ritual of smoking while helping smokers trend towards zero waste lifestyles. The underlying technology incorporates principles of airflow dynamics and material science to provide smoking experiences that are smooth, cool, and super tasty. The AerTip and AerGo selectively trap the tar, charred resin, and herbal particulate while allowing the desired active compounds to pass through. By slowing down and cooling the smoke, they also allow users to take deeper hits without coughing.
What are some other tips for sustainability in cannabis use?
The cannabis / CBD focused filter tip market is super underdeveloped in the US, where paper crutches are the standard. In Germany, where spliffs (cannabis + tobacco) are the norm, filters are far more common. Active carbon filters manufactured by Actitube, Puride, and OCB are ubiquitous, being sold in every spaty (bodega), smokeshop, and CBD dispensary. Over the past months, we have searched for sustainability-focused filters, but have yet to find any in the wild. Ultimately, we are excited to be pioneers in this space and raise awareness about simple choices we can make to improve our environmental impact each day.
Years of traveling, working and living outside of the US have given us a more nuanced perspective on smoking, and sustainability. While waste is often an afterthought for US consumer product manufacturers, in Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, for example, sustainability appears to be more mainstream.
Where do you see the future of cannabis and sustainable products having the most benefits for their customers?
Until now, we been chatting about smoking, however, the vaping industry has far to go with respect to sustainability. Since vape cartridges and devices are complex plastic, glass, metal e-waste, I would love to see more eco-innovation from manufacturers in that arena. The plastic waste epidemic can and should be tackled from many angles. As cannabis and CBD consumers begin waking up to the environmental impact of their recreational and/or medicinal pastimes, they will begin demanding more from manufacturers. I am excited to see the effect that this consumer pressure have on innovation within the industry. In the end, safeguarding our planet will require immense cooperation and creativity. Lucky for the planet, we are probably the generation that is best suited to tackle this feat.
Full Name: Anita Angelica Moore
Company Name: Trellis Laboratory
Cecilia Leigh Howard
NY MMJP, SAG-AFTRA actress & cannabis advocate, working in cannabis for 5 years all over North America, bud-tending, trimming or cultivating.
She is a writer, copy-editor & social media contributor for the Honey Pot, & Honeysuckle Magazine.