These Indian Entrepreneurs Upcycle Religious Flowers Into Useful Products
In India, people like to show their religious devotion with flowers. Lots and lots flowers. Every year, some 800 million tons of blossoms–red roses, yellow marigolds, prickly xanthiums–are deposited at the nation’s temples, mosques and Sikh gurudwaras, creating a colorful, but tricky waste problem.
Because the flowers have been used for worship, they’re sacred, and therefore can’t be just sent to landfill, explains Ankit Agarwal, an Indian entrepreneur. Hindu temples often throw the spent flowers into the River Ganges, a venerated waterway. But this just exacerbates the Ganges’s legendary pollution: The flowers are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals that leach into the environment.