This Kanpur based organisation upcycles temple flowers into incense sticks3 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
It all started when Ankit Aggarwal, the co-founder of Phool, visited the ghats of river Ganga in his hometown with a friend. Ganga has become one of the most polluted rivers in the world owing to urban sewage, animal waste, industrial metals and rivulets of ashes from cremated bodies.
Research presented another source of pollution— Flowers.
He found that the flowers disposed into the river turned to mulch and lost their colour. Further investigation showed that the flowers had insecticides and pesticides that mixed up with the water of the river creating toxic compounds. This added to the pollution of the holy river.
Every year, 8 million tonnes of flowers are disposed off into the rivers from places of worship. Till date, PHOOL has upcycled more than 2753 metric tonnes of temple flowers using vermicompost method.
1. Upcycle is a form of recycling where a discarded item is given a new use. So instead of turning an item into something new, one simply gives it a new use. In this case, PHOOL takes the flowers used for worship and creates incense sticks out of them!
2. Vermicompost is the product of decomposition acted upon by worms. Here, organic waste is turned into manure of high nutrients!
Phool is special in more ways than one. It employs women from marginalised communities, especially manual scavengers (people employed in cleaning latrines and sewers) offering them financial security and a means to escape the unemployment that plagues their community.
Phool creates sustainable incense sticks, fragrances, and sticks that are hundred percent organic. It has reduced the effects of 11 tonnes of pesticides in the process. The people at Phool have also come up with a sustainable alternative to thermocol called Florafoam. They are presently working on creating ethical flower-based leather.
Watch Phool’s tremendous journey of sustainability and dignity, here:
In a single stroke of brilliance, Phool has helped clean the Ganga, offered employment to underserved communities, and created a sustainable business.
Owliver hopes its fragrance spreads far and wide!
You can find them, here.
Image sourced from India Times.
(The Buzz is a fortnightly column that explores bright ideas that became reality)