In a world where recycling is the need of the hour, Phool after persistent struggles and challenges has managed to come up with a novel kind of recycling, termed as ‘flowercycling’.
In a country like India where Lakhs of devotees bring flowers and offerings to temples every day, the fact that 8 million tonnes of flowers are discarded every year in South Asia does not seem like an overstatement.
Here, we remember what is imperative- our people, our community, and the Ganges says Phool.
With the mission to preserve the river Ganges and empower vernacular people by providing a means to earn their livelihood, Phool has been making major strides in the country when it comes to temple waste management.
It all started on the day of Makara Sankranti when two friends visited the ghats of the River Ganges and were aghast by the state of the water. As much as Ankit, now the founder of Phool, thought nothing can be done to aid this gruesome state of the Ganges, curiosity got the best of him and after some initial research, he noticed that the flowers were loaded with pesticides and insecticides which can pose a potential threat for marine life by suppressing the Oxygen levels.
Just one look at the vibrant flowers and the glossy packaging material floating in the murky waters, he began thinking of ways to recycle them.
After an enervating year of research, he came up with the world’s first profitable solution for temple waste management.
Vermicompost and incense were carefully crafted and further developed from floral waste with the help of vernacular people.
Phool works with local women to collect the flowers from the rivers and then upcycles them into compost and useful products such as soap vegan leather goods, organic fertilizers, natural incense, and biodegradable packaging material.
These products are handcrafted by women who used to be manual scavengers. Phool provides them with employment in a clean and safe environment. These women now have secure bank accounts, access to health insurance, clean drinking water and toilets.
One among their many wonderful products, the seed paper infused with Tulsi stands out. One just needs to bury it in a pot with dirt and water it regularly for the seeds to sprout.
Another product, ‘Mitti’ serves as an organic alternative to the chemically loaded fertilizers while leaving behind zero carbon footprint.
The social enterprise has managed to convert 11,060 metric tonnes of temple-waste till date and currently operates in four cities in Uttar Pradesh with plans to scale up across the country.
By 2021, Phool aims to provide employment to 5,100 women and recycle 51 tonnes of temple waste daily.
The one of a kind recycling firm has plans to venture into Bangladesh and Nepal while striving to bring out new products.
Thus, Phool has been setting up an example globally in terms of the circular economy while sending a strong message to safeguard the planet.
So the next time you intent to gift someone, do visit the Phool website for some beautiful and unique gifts. We would love to know what item you have chosen to gift, so make sure you mention it in the comments!