If you’re a smoker, it’s time you were aware that you are a contributing factor to the 4.3 billion non-biodegradable cigarette butts found littering the planet every year. That’s a steep number - almost enough to make it one of the most hazardous acts we can commit on our planet. This might also be a good time to mention that if you’re not rolling your own cigarettes, the paper you smoke has Butane, Toluene, Nicotine, Acetic Acid, Methanol, Acetone, Cadmium, Arsenic, Benzene, Ammonia and Hexamine to keep it burning continuously. Cigarette filters, mostly made out of a form of plastic take anywhere from 18 months to 10 years to degrade, if at all. This is a lot of information to take in, but we have a piece of good news in store for you. Karma Tips, an Indian company stands to change it all with their biodegradable filters which when disposed off, grow into plants.
Pioneered by Ved and Chetna, Karma Tips are made by a patented process where fruit and vegetable pulp is used to create paper. This paper is 100% biodegradable in that they use absolutely no chemicals or artificial binding agents, to manufacture it. The seeds are added during the process, and are protected against nicotine and heat, whilst being protected by the specially designed paper, which also absorbs the tar naturally. As of now, they have New Zealand Lawn grass, Basil, Spinach and Amaranth growing out of the tips with plans to include carrots, daisies, petunias and a whole range of flowering plants soon.
When Ved and Chetna came across the information about the toxicity of cigarettes, that they were concerned is to say the least. “What truly sealed the idea was a trip to the furthest extremes of the Arctic Circle in Greenland, where we discovered cigarette butts everywhere. Even on the Ice Cap! We came upon this idea of special filters designed only for the hand-rolled cigarette that can help fight the littering problem too, globally. We designed the Karma Tips” Ved tells us.
As it stands, Karma Tips caters to a small global market, resisting large scale advertising and marketing. Currently, their manufacturing unit is set up in We a small village called Mallasandra, about a 75 kms north of Bangalore. “We chose this place because we felt that giving the women an opportunity to earn and contribute to their family’s earnings may just help this small farming community repay their debts in this drought-ridden part of the state” Ved explains to us.
All this is contingent upon your decision to roll your own cigarettes. If you smoke, we hope that their cause is incentive enough to make the switch to using these tips. Why not leave a plant in your wake instead of a stubbed out piece of trash?
To order Karma Tips, you can write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org for wholesale orders (above 1000 booklets). They plan to bring it to Indian retail stores in the next 20 days, set to launch in Mumbai first.