Simply put, the idea is Sacred, Ethical, & Humane.
Phool (the hindi word for flower) is the world’s first profitable and lean solution to the monumental ‘temple-waste’ problem. They collect 8-10 tons of floral-waste from temples in Uttar Pradesh, India on a daily basis. These are sacred flowers that are handcrafted into charcoal-free and organic incense, with biodegradable packaging material through their ‘Flowercycling’ technology.
Note that Phool only collect sacred flowers from temples and other places of worship offered by devotees; they never collect or process any flowers from funerals.
To learn more about this startup, see this amazing video -of their incredible story narrated directly by the founder Ankit and what is behind the beautiful products they make :
To the uninformed, the idea of using wasted flowers seemed ludicrous at the start. As a startup, Phool had to toil to convey their idea of recycling the temple waste because nobody was willing to take it seriously or give up their floral waste. But their simple idea became a roar once it set rolling and it continues to grow and be successful. Phool has spent hours experimenting, meeting various stakeholders and pitching the idea of managing temple waste in India. A year and a half and countless hours in a makeshift laboratory later, flowercycled incense was conceived and crafted.
All Phool products are handcrafted by women flowercyclers, whom they provide with predictable and healthy livelihoods. Phool is the genesis of a new circular economy model, a stream of waste that was unimagined, pointing to systems change.
"I am impressed by your Phool enterprise in India which is perfect example of circular economy. Keep setting the standards for others to follow." Paul Polman(CEO Unilever)
The concept and idea behind Phool’s products are at the core of our ethos at Lanos, as we love to support startups and handicrafts produced by low income earners, especially women, who are creating very "giftable products" and we are proud to introduce these products into the Singapore market.
Bollywood Star Aliaa Bhatt is one of the supporters and investors in Phool.
Phool's mission is to preserve the holy river Ganges where the flower waste is otherwise dumped and empower vernacular people by providing a means to earn their livelihood. This has became a reality.
Today, more and more orthodox temple & religious authorities want to be a part of Phool's mission, pointing to a change against a century old harmful religious practice of dumping temple-waste in the rivers and other places.
Phool continue to invest heavily into R&D to invent other methods to convert temple-waste into biodegradable packaging and bio-leathers. They are also constantly trying to enhance their impact on empowering the women who are employed with them. It has been their earnest effort to turn this pious waste collection into a full-blown social enterprise which now spans three cities.
As of today, Phool has grown much more than the two people it started with but their spirit of adventure that began at the Ghats of the Ganges flourishes every day and Phool continues to evolve !