The Mantis project began when designer Alexandra Guerrero (sorry, no website yet) was preparing a graduation thesis. Ever aware of the vast amount of cigarette butts everywhere in the city of Santiago de Chile, she started thinking about what could be done with them, and came up with a way to mix the tissue of the filter with natural wool to create a rustic-looking thread that could be knitted into all kinds of garments.
Of course, putting used cigarette butts in contact with your skin could not only be disgusting, but potentially dangerous. So before continuing on with her project, Guerrero asked environmental engineer Carolina Leiva to conduct a study to determine just how pure the material would be after cleaning the butts. The study concluded that the filters could achieve 95% purification, which, according to the designer, means that the clean butts are safe to use.