While smoking rates are on the decline in some countries, there will always be those who’ll never quit the harmful habit—and cigarette butts will likely remain an eyesore, littering the world.
That’s why this company is trying to minimize the negative effects of smoking by selling biodegradable filter tips that plant seeds, instead of creating litter.
Karma Tips was created by ex-advertising representatives Chetana and Ved Roy of Bengaluru, India. Ved first got the idea for Karma Tips when he was working with a tobacco company and he learned about the list of chemicals found in commercial cigarette papers. The couple, who has worked for dozens of corporate giants in the past, quit their jobs so they could pursue creating low-impact cigarette materials.
Their handmade filters are 100% organic, biodegradable, and non-addictive, and are sold alongside a similarly improved book of rolling papers. When disposed of, the butt degrades in a matter of days and gives root to basil, New Zealand lawn grass, rosemary, or thyme.
In addition to being better for the environment, the filters are healthier for the smoker, because they are not exposed to the chemical-infused paper used by larger tobacco companies.
The Roys also employ roughly two dozen employees – most of which are women – from local villages to help make, package, and distribute Karma Tips. All the packaging used for the products are created locally, thus stimulating small village economies.
“The bags that contain the products are handwoven by a community of local weavers, using organic cotton and locally grown raw material. Even the ink we use for printing is food-grade, non-toxic, and made locally. These small initiatives go a long way in involving local and rural communities in the business, thereby helping them prosper,” said Ved .“After all, any business that makes only money, we believe, is a bad business.”