A Start-up that Pays You for Your Used Cigarette Butts

Noida-based Code Enterprises LLP pays Rs. 250 for a kilo of cigarette waste. They recycle/reuse cigarette leftovers to create attractive marketable products.

Their firm is great for the environment, and your pocket.

The founders began work on formulating the most viable chemical process to clean and recycle the polymer used in cigarette butts – Cellulose Acetate.

Once they found a reliable method, they launched Code Enterprise LLP in July 2016.

Wanting to better manage cigarette waste in India, they started with Delhi-NCR.

For promotion, they used social media, distributed pamphlets and visited cigarette vendors, with whom they struck a deal – they would provide them VBins (exclusive trash cans for cigarettes) + cleaning services at Rs. 99 for three months and pay them Rs. 250/kilo for cigarette leftovers.

Of the 20 Indian states that Code Enterprises operates in, the rate is the same, Rs. 200 for every kilo of cigarette butts. However, starting June 1, 2017, the rates have been revised at Rs. 250/kilo for Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.

Using leftover tobacco, Code Enterprises LLP manufactures organic compost powder and recycled polymer, with which it makes wide-ranging products including cushions, garlands, stuffed toys, accessories, key chains and the paper covering for plantations/nurseries.

Recycled polymer has high filtering properties and heat resistance, which can also be used to manufacture air-purification systems for kitchen chimneys.

Today, they have 60 associates in 100 districts across 20 states, who work on a contractual basis and manage/supply cigarette waste from their regions.

Getting 300-400kg cigarette butts each month, primarily through Indian Railway’s parcel service, they have recycled more than four tons of cigarette waste so far.

The 10,000 VBins installed across India generate income for over 5,000 people including vendors, offices, smokers and rag pickers. Their Noida recycling unit makes 15-20kg organic compost powder and as much recycled polymer.