This impressive startup is trying to put the cigarette butts to good use.
Naman Gupta and Vishal Kanet, the founders of the startup, came up with the idea after they were on a party and were shocked by how much cigarette butts were thrown away in only a couple of hours.
They started talking about what happens with the cigarette butts from all over the world. Do they degrade? What is their impact on pollution? Could they be recycled?
Using Cigarette Butts to Create Something Good
Believe it or not, cigarettes are one of the most common type of waste in the world.
Around 4.5 trillion butts are discarded yearly and more than 100 billion are being thrown away on the streets in India alone.
Cigarette butts contain the filters made of plastic known as cellulose acetate. Unfortunately, this material needs years to degrade and until it does, it releases microplastics in our oceans and soil.
The Eco Warriors Launched Code & Recycle Cigarette Butts
On a joint mission to fight off cigarette butt pollution, Gupta, a graduate from Delhi University and Kanet, an engineer, founded Code, a company that recycles cigarette butts and then uses them to create different products.
Months of research were necessary so that the founders come up with the right way to clean and process the butts’ cellulose acetate.
They distribute VBins to street vendors where the cigarette butts are collected and they give the vendors a rate of Rs250 for a kilogram of butts. The waste from these bins, mostly tobacco, paper, ash, and the filters are divided manually.
The paper and tobacco are turned into manure while the filters are treated and used for production of toys, cushions, and mosquito repellents.
What Is Code’s Next Step?
The success story of these two young eco warriors is seen by their successful work in more than 250 districts in India.
According to Naman, their plan for the following five to ten years is to manage waste from cigarette butts from all over India.
Learn more about Code and their amazing story of making good out of bad here: