We all have someone around us, among us and a part of our social circle who smokes cigarettes. We all know how lethal it is and still, we do not bother about it. Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. A single cigarette contains over 4,800 chemicals, 69 of which are known to cause cancer. If that is not enough to alarm us, I don't know what will be!
Ved and Chetana Roy started the Karma Tips from Prasadam Industries, which produce 100 percent organic, biodegradable and chemical free, handmade cigarette filter tips that release live seeds into the ground when disposed of.
Scroll down and know more about their one of its type initiative.
Their mission is to curb the global blight of pollution caused by discarded cigarette butts into the environment while providing a high-quality smoking experience.
5 trillion cigarette butts become litter every year, and most are synthetic filters, resistant to degradation. These can take up to 10-15 years to degrade naturally. According to a research, International Coastal Cleanup released statistics in 2012, stating cigarettes and cigarette butts constituted over 30% of total pieces of garbage collected. If this continues soon, the Earth will not be worth living on.
The solution that this duo came up with is Greenbutt filters which are manufactured from a patent pending blend of natural materials, including:
- Flax, Hemp, and Cotton
- Natural starch based binder
- Nothing artificial
Ved and Chetana both quit their high-paying advertising jobs in Mumbai and Delhi, respectively to bring this unique idea to life. With careers of over 20 years and have worked with brands like Pepsi, 7UP, Samsung Mobile, and Panasonic among others, they decided to quit their jobs to create a niche and 'meaningful' brand.
Ved states, "I quit working on the 'big tobacco' account and the agency soon after, but an idea took root in my mind. Despite the warnings on cigarette packets, hard-hitting media communication, pro-active governmental anti-smoking initiatives and even the periodical price rise, the truth is that there's hardly any significant reduction in the number of cigarettes smoked. Though we would appreciate people not smoking at all, we also understood that hand-rolled cigarettes are perhaps a better bet."
Karma Tips is a booklet of roaches made of organic paper: treeless paper with seed-infused cigarette filters (to be used with brown, non-bleached rolling paper) that not only made smoking relatively safer but worked positively for the planet. Making cigarette filters that decompose within a few days and sprout plants also made it an innovative proposition that encouraged a certain section (existing smokers) to contribute positively towards the environment without them even being aware of it.
Chetana states, "Currently, we supply a large number of booklets to the UK, Washington, France, Germany, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and to users in India where we started an 'experimental' market in mid-March, this year. The results are quite promising as users from all over the world are quite involved with the product and share their experiences in planting the butts and upload photographs of plants sprouting from them, on the Karma Tips Facebook page. It took us about two years to build our brands despite very little media advertising. A lot of product trials, word-of-mouth, and positive social media reporting from all over the world helped us in spreading information about our unique and innovative products."
The couple finds it hugely satisfying that they get to do something fruitful for their family and village that they have adopted in Karnataka. An employee strength of mere 20, comprising mostly women, this project has not only taught women a new skill but has also ensured that their children continued their schooling in the drought-ridden village.
Founder Ved says, "The bags that contain the products are handwoven by a community of local weavers, using organic cotton and locally grown raw material. Even the ink we use for printing is food-grade, non-toxic, and made locally. These small initiatives go a long way in involving local and rural communities in the business, thereby helping them prosper."
'Good karma for all' seems to be the motivation behind the launch of Karma Tips!
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