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Cracking the code on dealing with cigarette waste

November was Lung Cancer Awareness month and while most of us are well aware of the effects that smoking can have on our health, most of us perhaps don’t know the negative effects it can have on our environment.

Naman Gupta, Director of Code Effort, a social enterprise dealing in cigarette butt waste management and recycling, has made it his mission to tackle the cigarette butt menace.

In a conversation with YourStory, Naman said, “We are used to seeing cigarette butts lying around everywhere and we have accepted it. There is a misconception that cigarette butts are made of biodegradable items and they won’t last for a longer time. But they take more than twelve years to decompose.”

He added that cigarette butts are the number one single-use plastic litter–about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are thrown away every year. To deal with cigarette waste, Code Effort works very closely with corporates, where there is a specific smoking zone. In corporate smoking zones, Code Effort has replaced ashtrays with V bins—the V stands for value.

Besides collecting cigarette waste from corporates, Code Effort is also working closely with 2,000 ragpickers across 250 districts in India. The initiative helps create awareness, removes waste, and provides a form of livelihood as well.

Noida-based Code Effort arranges for pickups of cigarette waste in Delhi, Noida, and Gurugram. In other parts of the country, the organisation has associates, who transport the cigarette waste to its Noida factory.

Code Effort also operates in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Its solution is universally applicable, given that cigarette waste is a global problem.

As for individuals, Naman said that if smokers would like to get in touch with Code Effort for their cigarette waste management, they can rest assured that they won’t be judged.

“While you are on the journey of quitting smoking, you can join hands with us and you can dispose of your cigarette butts wisely and help us to recycle them into other products and create a circular economy and provide sustainability and provide livelihoods.”

So what products does Code Effort create out of cigarette waste? From toys to diaries Code Effort is ensuring that they find the silver lining in a cloud of smoke by providing employment to more than women at their factory in Noida.

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