More than half of the Indian population smokes, with the men to women smokers’ ratio being 2:1. On an average, a person who smokes will light up anywhere between 2 to 20 cigarettes per day which equal as many cigarette butts and a whole lot of ash. This, in turn, causes unimaginable levels of environmental pollution and poisons the air that non-smokers inhale too. With millions of cigarettes being consumed every day in a country that already occupies 7th place in the list of world’s most polluted countries, what’s going to happen to our remaining ecosystem? Well, you do the math…
Which is why Naman Gupta and Vishal Kanet, who hail from, coincidentally, the most polluted city in India – Delhi, decided to do something about it and opened India’s first cigarette waste recycling company – Code Enterprises LLP. Cigarette waste is a non-biodegradable waste which can be reused in various other by-products. Code recycles and reuses each component of cigarette waste generated, either domestically or industrially. Naman was brought up in a middle-class family of intellectuals living in Noida, U.P. and is a B. Com grad from Delhi University. He started Code Enterprises LLP as his future endeavour in November 2015. Prior to Code, Naman was at CA-IPC level awaiting his final year graduation results. His business partner Vishal is a 26-year-old professional photographer who worked the lens for 2 years before joining Code.
At Code, we aim to eradicate cigarette waste and provide proper disposal facilities to the public for sustainability.”
Rising from The Ashes
Their business model involves managing and recycling cigarette waste into various by-products in the most environmentally responsible manner possible. Code uses its own chemical composition for recycling waste which is confidential to maintain its USP. The waste water generated during cigarette butts recycling is also recycled for further usage in the next batches to ensure zero wastage. Code’s by-products include organic compost powder (made from leftover tobacco and paper covering) for plantations, nurseries, etc., as well as VMAKE (cushions, key chains, soft toys, bean bags, garlands, accessories, etc. made from the recycled polymer). Code is also working towards an eco-friendly Air Purifier that can be put up in every house, chimney, smoke emitters with a vision to control air pollution. Code is the first of many steps that need to be taken to conserve our fast depleting environment.
When asked what inspired him to become an entrepreneur, Naman replies very matter-of-factly – “I seek to resolve the irregular management in the Indian waste sector. For me, entrepreneurship is a daily routine of ups and downs with a vision towards a better tomorrow and a happier future.” Solid entrepreneurship skills and the undeterred drive to take on doing the impossible in a country like ours are what make bold businessmen like Naman so hard to find.
“My family has always been my sole mentor monetarily as well as non-monetarily towards the business prospect,” says Naman when asked who his biggest inspiration is. His family has always supported him from the start and stand by him in his future endeavours too. “They believe hard work is the key to success and prosperity.”
What’s Next for Code Enterprises LLP?
Today, Code has 50+ associates covering approximately 100+ districts across India. At the ground level, 10,000+ VBins have been installed for collecting cigarette waste and 5,000+ individuals have generated income and employment from the cause. Within 2 years, Code has eradicated over 3-4 tonnes of cigarette waste which would have ended up as general litter, causing pollution and degradation.
Currently, Code is bootstrapped and open to fresh investment in favour of 5% partnership rights. Naman’s future plan for Code is to scale up production and sales of the running by-products to attain profitability by 2020. “Our vision is to manufacture air-purification systems applicable for chimneys, etc. in the coming years.”
We all know that smoking is injurious to life and nature, yet we can’t seem to stop puffing on these slow and silent killers. Naman hopes that people recognize the staggeringly negative effects of this horrible habit on the human body and the environment. “If a person can do his/her bit towards cleanliness and sustainability, the future generations will inherit it as a culture and not a problem.” I think that’s enough said for all the smokers out there to chuck the cigarettes for the sake of their lives and the revival of our deteriorating environmental health. Sure, Code can clean up the environment, but can’t clean out your lungs.