Everybody has a spark within; you just have to ignite it

October 21st , 2018 | Naman Gupta

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Cigarette butts are the most littered item worldwide and non- biodegradable in nature.

It was in September, 2015 when I came up with the idea of Code. I was in my final year of B.Com graduation waiting for the results and a wave of Start-up India launched by the Prime Minister of India was at peak. During our college life, I realized the cigarette waste problem in a friend’s PG accommodation. The cigarette butts which used to get collected in random ash trays and containers ended up in the general garbage bin and later disposed by the society maintenance team to the nearby landfill.

This made me wonder about what is happening with the cigarette butts! Upon research, data shows that cigarette butts are the most littered item worldwide and non- biodegradable in nature. Study shows that there are no government regulations or guidelines regarding proper cigarette waste disposal and management in India. Nationally, 100% of the cigarette butts used to end up in the landfill till 2016.

Separation Team @Code

Conserve Our Depleting Environment

With all the theoretical knowledge in hand, it was time for implementation. After multiple failures, the chemical composition to treat the cigarette butts became a reality in December, 2015. After finding the right chemical for recycling the cigarette butts, the legal structure of the idea was framed within 4-5 months and Code Effort Pvt. Ltd. was launched in July, 2016 as a cigarette waste management and recycling firm. 

Code is an effort to conserve our depleting environment in the most sustainable and environmentally responsible manner. Through Code, we aim to eradicate various kinds of waste generated domestically, publicly or industrially with a systematic process.

In our line of business, the whole system is correlated and dependent on each other. The machinery and chemicals used for recycling the cigarette waste are not rocket science, but running a complete business model requires passion. Our team members have different qualifications, have different business operations and are of different age groups, but the whole team are the partakers in the growth of Code. 

We started cigarette waste collection services in Delhi, Gurugram and Noida to create awareness regarding cigarette waste and generate stock. We provided VBins (stainless steel receptacles) to individual smokers, cigarette vendors, and corporate for collecting the cigarette waste. Every 15-20 days, we used to go to the customer’s place and collect the cigarette waste in exchange of cash back of Rs. 70 per 100 grams. Within 6 months, we made a network of 100+ customers who were satisfied with our business model.

By Products made by Code

A revolution sparked throughout India which led our expansion

It was December, 2016 when the senior reporter of Hindustan Times approached me via call offering us an article of appreciation in their newspaper (Delhi NCR edition). That article sparked a revolution regarding cigarette waste management and recycling for our organisation. By March 2017, our organisation was featured by various local and national social media channels like NDTV, Al-Jazeera, and Indian Express to name a few.

In February 2017, we launched our by-products like accessories, gift items, cushions, mattresses, etc. under the brand name VMAKE. VMAKE is a vision to create the best out of waste in the most beautiful and environmentally responsible manner. Various designs and ranges are produced and sold via extensive online and offline marketing strategies.

Collected Cigarette Butts

Determination & Passion can lead to our destination

In April 2017, we outsourced the collection model in a contractual manner (called Code Associations) to foster business operations across India. Association contracts were taken up by various individuals and already existing entities and Code started entering into multiple states. Associations are beneficial to various individuals since it involves monetary benefits to the customers for the business support services they rendered.

Within the previous financial year, we eradicated more than 10,000 Kilograms of cigarette waste from India and provided employment opportunities to thousands of unskilled and unemployed citizens of India. Within no time, we started operating in more than 150+ districts across India and created a benchmark for efficient cigarette waste management and disposal.

Within 2 years of business operations, we have created a system for a particular kind of waste which had no existence in the recycling sector. It is not about doing this differently, it is about doing simple things in an extraordinary manner. During the early stages of business, we faced a lot of rejections and criticism but my family and team has always supported towards the business growth.

In our twenties, we generally don’t know what to do in life and merely think on how to achieve what we really aspire. It is only through the determination and passion that a single step can lead to various destinations.

The author of the story is “Naman Gupta of Code Effort Pvt. Ltd and you can reach out to them here

InwasteR is only a platform to share WaStory and the views and experience are purely of the author.

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