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From the Sets: The Story of our Effort

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

When we start looking at waste as an opportunity, environmental health and safety become easier to achieve. For a long time now, littered cigarette waste has been a dominant eco-hazard across the globe, with around 4.5 trillion butts being added to the environment annually. When you narrow it down to India, the problem seems amplified due to the lack of proper waste disposal and management systems.

That’s where we, the people of Code Effort come in. Founded in 2018 by Naman Gupta, CODE Effort stands for Conserving Our Depleting Environment. Simply put, we’re a collective effort to systematically manage and repurpose your cigarette litter. Code Effort’s responsibilities include the collection, cleaning, processing and recycling of all cigarette waste. These are later converted into 100% toxin-free lifestyle essentials such as pillows, keychains, mosquito repellants and even air purifiers! Since our inception, we’ve managed to recycle 300,000,000 cigarette butts - the equivalent of 100,000kg and counting.

Take a sneak peek into our world, and read on for a step-by-step preview of how we put your cigarette waste to good use:

1. What We Do:

Code Effort’s pan-India operations are led out of Delhi-NCR, Noida & Gurugram. We collect cigarette waste and litter for recycling. Born out of a personal experience, we discovered the need for an appropriate waste management system after looking at the immense cigarette waste generated at one single house with friends.

Since then, our goal has been simple and unified- To turn toxic tobacco waste into useful resources without pressuring the environment. We collect cigarette waste and incentivize our sources by paying per kilogram, for the amount of waste sent to us. Then, we segregate, clean & recycle each component of the cigarette while following a closed-loop process. Ultimately, each cigarette component is utilized for creating a lifestyle product.

Besides the primary objective of recycling cigarette waste, we at Code Effort also undertake regular awareness creation activities. We recognize, that the solution doesn’t just lie in the waste management efforts but also in preventing people from taking up this health-harming habit. Just as litter harms the planet health, smoking harms human health and so, we strive to address both issues with our initiatives.

2. The Code Effort Waste Collection Network:

Our collection service has two key source points- The hardworking waste picker communities & large corporates with a desire to manage their cigarette waste consciously.

The waste picker network is crucial to us, as these are the frontline workers when it comes to waste segregation & collection. Being the most littered item on Earth, cigarettes are often dumped on sidewalks or stubbed on the ground. Our waste-pickers collect the littered cigarette waste and are remunerated once we receive the collections. We also partner with willing associates across districts, on tenure-based contracts.

For large corporates, we provide a VBin service that makes waste collection easy for them. These wall-mounted cigarette bins are set up in the designated smoking zones of these organizations. Every fortnight, a collection representative picks up the accumulated waste for processing at our factories. Besides this, we have authorized dealers across the Delhi-Gurugram region. Any responsible citizen intending to supply cigarette waste to us can volunteer to be a part of the collection & supply chain. The protocols for sending us bulk cigarette waste are simple- Just ensure the waste is dry & not mixed with any other waste (like wrappers, chewing gum, beedis & the like).

3. Our Processes: Once the cigarette waste reaches our facilities, the action begins immediately. The procured cigarette butts are first separated manually & broken down into their sub-parts- Cellulose Acetate fibre (derived from the cigarette filters), paper covering (the outer cigarette wrapping paper made of flax/linen), and the leftover tobacco.

  • The fibre is ground using an industrial shredder and treated with a biodegradable chemical composition for 24-36 hours. The recycled fibre is then further processed to enhance its softness. The wastewater generated after treatment is further recycled and reused in further batches.

  • The paper covering is ground to a pulp by an industrial shredder and converted into A5 sheets. These sheets are then hand-cut into to make mosquito repellents.

  • The tobacco and any leftover paper are turned into compost through a treatment process.

4. Worker Health & Safety: Both cigarettes and cigarette waste can be toxic. For our hardworking factory workers, interacting with such waste in large quantities is a daily activity. At Code Effort facilities, our highest priority is to ensure the complete safety of all our waste warriors. A peek into our factory, and you’ll find everyone following a strict mask & gloves protocol. Every worker is geared with the necessary equipment and trained thoroughly before they begin working. While our recycling process has almost no side effects, we still ensure to have immediate first-aid and medical assistance at all times on site.

5. Our Certifications: Once we complete the treatment & recycling process of your cigarette waste, it loses its toxicity. When broken down systematically and managed responsibly, every recycled component has an efficient use case. At Code Effort, we identify these use cases to make 100% safe and Earth-friendly lifestyle products like pillowcases, cushions, keychains & more. We are an ISO 9001:2015 and DIPP certified private limited company. We adhere to all necessary and regular quality checks and lab certifications to ensure that the recycled materials are completely consumer-friendly.

Currently, India alone accounts for 26,454 tonnes of annual cigarette waste. Beyond the obvious health repercussions of this harmful habit, cigarette waste also adversely impacts our environment. For us, cigarette waste collection and management is just a part of a larger solution. As our founder, Naman Gupta often says, “If cigarette waste & recycling is an art, Code Effort is the artist!”

In an ideal scenario, we strive to witness a day when there is no more cigarette waste to process. By encouraging better habits, smoking de-addiction and responsible waste disposal practices, it is our hope to see this dream turn into a reality in the near future.

If you’d like to know more about Code Effort’s operations and wish to partner as an associate, distributor or volunteer with us, you can contact us on or visit our page for details.

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