Trash to Triumph: The 'Butt' of Solutions to Cigarette Waste

Globally, 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked annually. Shockingly, only around 1/3rd of these are disposed of responsibly. It has resulted in cigarettes becoming the primary contributor to pollution. A startup is recycling them into eco-friendly products.

Sonu Vivek
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We are all aware of the phrase, smoking kills. Smoking indeed has numerous adverse effects that have been extensively highlighted over time. Not only does smoking harm the health of the individual engaging in the habit, but it also has far-reaching consequences for the environment.
Globally, an astonishing 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked annually. Shockingly, only around one-third of these are disposed of responsibly, while the remainder find their way into landfills. This alarming trend has resulted in cigarettes becoming the primary contributor to plastic pollution on a global scale.

What does WHO say about the waste created by Cigarettes? 

According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) titled 'Tobacco: Poisoning our planet', the production and disposal of tobacco have dire environmental consequences. It is estimated that a staggering 600 million trees, 200,000 hectares of land, and 22 billion tonnes of water are compromised to sustain a single year's worth of tobacco production.

Aavishkari Entrepreneur: Code Effort Redefining Cigarette Butts

However, amid this concerning scenario and the apparent lack of action, Naman Gupta's Code Effort Private Limited is taking meaningful steps to address the issue of cigarette waste. It claims to be India's number 1 Cigarette Butt Recycler. This innovative approach truly makes him an "Aavishkari Entrepreneur' with his startup dedicated to managing and repurposing cigarette butts, transforming them into a range of useful and aesthetically appealing products.

These include toys, beautiful cushion covers, and handcrafted paper, among others. This initiative not only helps to mitigate the environmental impact of cigarette waste but also highlights the potential for creative and sustainable solutions to pressing global challenges.

The TICE team had the opportunity to talk with Naman Gupta the founder of Code Effort which embarked on its journey in 2018 and unraveled his startup journey

Mentioning his company's motto, Naman said, "CODE Effort stands for Conserve Our Depleting Environment Effort which is an inclusive effort to preserve the planet. The aim is to recycle the cigarette waste, resulting in better health of our planet while also providing employment to people helping us process the cigarette butts."

Naman also shed light on the challenges faced during his initial days. Reflecting on the hurdles faced throughout his startup journey, he revealed that raising awareness about the perilous impact of cigarette butts was a significant challenge. He mentioned that there was a lack of consciousness regarding their harmful effects, resulting in a lack of attention. 

Sharing his challenges over the course of his startup journey he said, "The people were not aware of the hazardous impact of the cigarette butts and hence no one paid attention to it. The collection of cigarette butts was a major challenge as collecting it manually is a tedious process that requires massive human capital and effort." 

He also highlighted the role that the government can play in the climate tech, waste management, and recycling industry by providing them with regular incentives, relaxations, and funding. Naman mentioned that such steps will help startups working in this sector to flourish as it is the need of the hour to support climate tech startups. 

In a world where the negative effects of cigarette consumption and waste often take center stage, it is heartening to see such startups that not only raise awareness but also actively contribute to positive change. This startup serves as a shining example of how innovative thinking and responsible action can pave the way for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future with its innovative solution producing eco-friendly products.