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Make compost & incense sticks with floral waste

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

Every day we go to temples with lots of flowers to offer it to God so that he fulfills our desires. But there are many shrines that dump these flowers in landfills or waterways. Religious sites around India are looking for ways to re-use or recycle floral waste, and startups and companies are lending a hand either with resources or technology. In Delhi, eight religious places have installed machines to turn flower waste into compost, as part of an initiative by Angelique Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Delhi- based construction company Angelique International, and Lok Sabha MP, Meenakshi Lekhi.

In India many places of worship generate 20 tonnes of flower waste daily. Much of it ends up in landfills, where it doesn’t decompose as it would naturally because it is mixed with other non biodegradable waste.

Ankit Agrawal and Karan Rastogi work with 49 temples in Kanpur and neighboring areas to collect flowers, which they use to produce hand rolled incense sticks. They founded Help Us Green in 2015 to reduce the waste reaching the Ganga everyday as well as provide employment to the locals. They collect 4.2 tonnes of floral waste each day, and have hired 73 women to handroll incense sticks.

Instead of letting waste just fill up landfills; this organization has been coming up with various technologies to convert organic waste into compost. The Jhandewalan temple in Delhi spends an additional Rs 500 a month to run the composting machine, which is cheaper than paying Rs 3000 to transport the waste to the local dump.

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