Can’t help but recycle, Code Effort takes care of toxic cigarette waste – The New Indian Express
Express press service
Naman Gupta (27) from Noida, Uttar Pradesh recalls that during his childhood and teenage years it was common to see people smoking a cigarette. “Whether on the side of the road or in the living rooms, smokers were everywhere,” comments the 27-year-old. In no time, he became aware of the waste produced by cigarettes and therefore began to research the impact that this act creates on the environment.
Discarded cigarette butts are a form of non-biodegradable toxic waste that ends up in landfills. A massive contributor to pollution, cigarette butts are made of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic that can take around 10 years to degrade.
Resolute in his commitment to making a difference, the University of Delhi graduate decided to launch Code Effort Pvt Ltd, an end-to-end recycling company that converts cigarette butts into consumer products, in September 2018. We call ourselves Code Effort because it is a collective effort to eradicate cigarette butts from our environment. ‘Code’ is an abbreviation that stands for ‘Collective effort to conserve our depleting environment’,” he shares.
Designing “green” solutions
Code Effort follows the 3Ps (Procure, Process and Produce) which describe the working mechanism of the organization. The team collects cigarette butts from a network of scavengers and volunteers from different parts of the country. They also provide collection services for commercial establishments that allow smoking such as businesses, salons and cafes.
The collected cigarette butts are then processed after being disassembled into three parts: the paper, the tobacco remains and the cellulose acetate (the filter). A network of 70 women from the village of Nangli, Western UP, tear these leftover cigarettes into pieces. This work helps them maintain their livelihoods, says Gupta.
Limit the waste generated
Code Effort ensures that no part of the cigarette butt is lost. Tobacco scraps are turned into compost powder – they do this by following aerobic composting so as not to pollute the soil in the process. While compost powder is sold to nurseries, cigarette paper is used to make mosquito repellents as well as recycled planting paper for notebooks, calendars, etc. The filter is shredded, chemically treated and lab tested, and after safety approvals, it is used to store stuffed animals, key rings, cushions, mattresses, etc.
For Gupta, an entrepreneur with a bigger vision, this is just the start of a big step towards sustainability. “The change must come from us,” he concludes.