Re-Code the future with Cigarette butts

Code Effort

3. Good Health and Well-Being 5. Gender Equality 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

Code Effort Private Limited is India's first cigarette waste recycling company. It recycles each component of cigarette waste generated either domestically or industrially by utilizing the most environmentally responsible methods and procedures for recycling waste and reusing it in the form of recycled products.

Authors

Harshul Bhatia

Harshul Bhatia

Osiya Gupta

Osiya Gupta

Rahul Desai

Rahul Desai

PHANEENDRA VELUGULETI

PHANEENDRA VELUGULETI

AYUSH SRIVASTAVA

AYUSH SRIVASTAVA

Sejal Agarwal

Sejal Agarwal

School

Goa Institute of Management

Goa Institute of Management

Professor

Divya Singhal

Divya Singhal

Innovation

Mr. Gupta, the company's CEO, expressed concern about Cigarettes. "We have end-users for plastic waste, but no end user-defined for Cigarette waste where cigarette waste is the most littered and ignored item which is causing hazardous effects on the environment." The company's mission is “To create awareness about how cigarette waste is harmful to the environment and showcase how this waste can be treated.” Mr. Gupta observed the huge amount of cigarette waste that is produced. When he explored further, he found a common misconception: The stubs were made of cotton. Then Mr. Gupta and his team started to do a detailed analysis and research on cigarette waste.

The business Innovation which CODE Effort calls its USP is recycling technology that is new to the world and Indian market. Although the collection of waste is important, it has no point if it is not treated properly. So, the company has certifications that prove that the recycling technology they use is safe for the environment, and the product they produce is also safe for the environment.

Initially, they started collaborating with waste pickers and rag pickers for the collection of cigarette waste. They also provided VBins (Value bins) to private spaces and offices for cigarette waste collection. They paid waste collectors were paid for every kg of cigarette waste they collected. They hired female workers to separate the parts of the cigarette butt so that each part could be treated separately. The cigarette butt was separated into three parts, i.e., Polymer, Leftover tobacco & paper, and fly ash. The polymer is used in the air purification system. This idea came after researching that cigarettes absorb a lot of harmful chemicals. The wastewater generated from this process was also treated to reduce the carbon footprint. The leftover tobacco & paper was recycled to produce organic manure. The fly-ash was sent to storage. Each portion of the cigarette butt was recycled so that the end product was safe to use, does not contaminate the water bodies, and reduces the carbon footprint. By 2022, Mr. Gupta wants to increase the innovative by-products to 15 to 50.

Re-Code the future with Cigarette butts

Inspiration

When asked about his source of inspiration, Mr. Gupta replied that “I, along with my friends, after attending a party, we were surprised to see the amount of waste generated from the cigarette leftovers. We realized that if a small party could produce so much cigarette waste, what would be the amount of cigarette waste produced by the entire country? Is it biodegradable? Can it be recycled?” Such questions led the young entrepreneur and his team to research cigarette butts and their effect on society and the environment. They wondered whether cigarette waste could be recycled into a usable end product. This led to the formation of the company CODE Effort, signifying their efforts towards Conserving Our Depleting Environment (CODE). Mr. Gupta is now single-handedly running this profitable company, which contributes to the betterment of the environment and society.

Overall impact

In India, the smoking culture is considered to be taboo. It is a very sensitive issue and damages the environment. Since cigarettes are a legal commodity, people will continue to smoke, causing waste to pile up indefinitely. Cigarette filters are made of a plastic called cellulose acetate. It can take 10-12 years to degrade, and in the process, it breaks down into tiny microplastics. The harmful chemicals present in cigarette butts cause soil pollution and inhibit plant growth. Cigarette waste ends up in waterways, and eventually, oceans that threaten aquatic life by releasing heavy toxic materials. CODE Effort is the only company dedicated to the treatment of cigarette waste whereby every component is utilized to make a usable end product. The recycling of the stubs has not only prevented water contamination but also helped to curb soil pollution.

The company believes in “Not Killing anyone,” where the byproducts are used to manufacture n-mos, repelling the mosquitos instead of making a product that tends to kill them. This company has also provided employment opportunities for the poor. They collect waste and make handmade goods. Most of the employees are rural household women who are given an opportunity to earn a living and contribute to this social cause. This company is having a dynamic impact on Indian society and its economy.

“Smoking is a legal commodity and depends on the consumption of its consumers.” Not only is Code-efforts creating awareness about how one can contribute to the recycling of cigarettes, but it is also creating awareness about the ill-effects of smoking. The company believes in “Anyone across the nation can join us."

Code Effort has set a record for the “Most number of cigarette butts recycled in India” and will soon set a record across the world for the same initiative. This year the theme for the World cleanup day, organized by Let’s do it, was cigarette butts. Representatives from Code-efforts were on the panel and helped spread awareness of the problem. The company was awarded in the segment of Innovation in waste management at BRICS CCI.

Business benefit

By treating cigarette waste, CODE Effort has benefited the environment and has also made a profit by selling products made out of the recycled products. They have several products in their portfolio, like mosquito repellent, mattress, cushions, and key chains. They are working on producing air purifying systems as well. CODE Effort works toward eliminating cigarette waste, recycling it, and converting it into usable products as a part of a circular economy model.

Code Effort's team collaborated with large corporations and MNC’s. They assisted in CSR activity and recycling of cigarette butts.

When confronted with the fact that his business model depends on the continuation of cigarettes being smoked, he thought, "I will be more than happy if Indians stopped smoking, as it is hazardous to their health. It will disrupt my business, but will lead to a better society".

With a vision of increasing the number of products that can be recycled from cigarette waste, Mr. Gupta expressed: “We have a plan to expand the products range from 15 to 50, which in turn will increase our profit as well as mitigate the environmental negative effects“.

Social and environmental benefit

CODE Effort has benefited society and the environment in many ways. It has helped generate employment opportunities throughout the country by hiring waster pickers. They also strive to ensure a safe working environment for their workers.

The environment has also benefited from the innovation of “CODE EFFORT.” Since cigarette butts contaminate water, treating the waste helps to preserve bodies of water. It also reduces soil pollution because the stubs take 10-12 years to decompose.

This company provides social support by providing employment opportunities for women and the underprivileged who can contribute to waste collection, segregation, and making handmade goods.

Mr. Gupta observed that most rural people have an orthodox mindset that doesn’t allow women to step out of the house for employment. But through this initiative, most rural household women have an opportunity to earn a livelihood and contribute to this social cause. Therefore this company is having a dynamic impact on the economic and societal stability of this country.

Interview

Mr Naman Gupta, CEO

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Code Effort

Code Effort

Noida, Uttar Pradesh, IN

Business Website: https://www.facebook.com/codeeffort/

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Code Effort Private Limited is India's first cigarette waste recycling company. It recycles each component of cigarette waste generated either domestically or industrially. Code Effort Pvt. uses the most environmentally responsible methods and procedures for recycling waste. It collects cigarette waste and reuses it to make recycled products. Its goal is to have a cigarette waste-free India.