Flowers when wilted are generally thrown away as organic waste without a second thought, but Samundra Raj Aryal plans to give a new meaning to their afterlife by converting them into incense sticks. He and his team, Aanchal Khadka, Rabin Rokka, and Sagar Aryal, are currently working on developing the idea before going into the production phase of their product. We got an opportunity to speak to Mr. Aryal and to understand his plan for his business.
- Can you tell us about the inception of your business idea?
Aanchal and Sagar, our team members who have commendable experience in waste management came up with this idea of making incense from a batch of waste flowers. I hadn’t heard about this concept before but it sounded promising. A huge bulk of floral waste is generated from religious places especially from famous temples like Pashupatinath which have a huge footfall. All the flowers offered to the deities eventually land up at the dumping site which is already stretched to its full capacity.
While we were at the research stage of this idea, we decided to pitch for CG Smart City Challenge and got selected for idea incubation. CG Smart City Challenge not only motivated us to work on our idea but also helped us develop a practical approach to our business idea. We have already made a prototype and plan to go for the production using machinery.
- How do you convert floral waste to incense?
The flowers we collect from the various places are mixed with several ingredients including camphor, sandalwood and cryptomeria. In order to further develop the essence we soak the incense in perfume which helps strengthen the products fragrance.
- What kind of flowers do you generally use in making incense?
We basically use Marigold since it is easily available in all seasons and hence a feasible option.
- What challenges do you anticipate for your business idea?
One of the major challenges that we face is that the concept of us using flowers that come from religious places make some people uncomfortable. We have faced criticism for our initiative when we were still at the research stage.
We are still figuring out a way to produce a standard size product as of now but apart from that competing with the well-established incense industries, marketing and company registrations, along with some other legal issues are some immediate foreseeable challenges.
- What social problems are you trying to target to provide solutions with your initiative?
We are aiming to mitigate the large proportions of trash generated at religious places because of flowers. Our initiative will also contribute to the development of tourism sector by keeping the religious places and environment clean.
Incense which is generally made from charcoal contaminates the air and can be a health hazard. A research conducted by University of China proves that if a pregnant woman is exposed to incense made from charcoal for a long time, there is a possibility the baby might be born with lukemia. In response to this issue our product is manufactured using flowers; while completely rejecting the use of charcoal.
- What are your long-term plans with the business idea?
Currently we plan to produce incense using floral waste from religious places but in the coming future, we will focus on collecting floral waste from party places and ceremonial houses that readily intend to contribute to our initiative of responsible bio-degradable waste management.
We aspire to expand our product line by adding new product lines such as paper, perfume, and colors from the floral waste.
Interested in learning more about the business idea? You can get in touch with Aanchal Khadka at firstname.lastname@example.org