In India, enormous quantities of flowers are used during countless religious ceremonies. Unfortunately, once they have been used these beautiful symbols of devotion often end up discarded and left to pollute the river Ganges. They cannot be simply sent to a landfill, since they have been used for worship and, therefore, are themselves sacred. It may seem like flowers should not be a seriously grave problem when it comes to pollution – but since they are sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals, the colorful debris makes the Ganges’s pollution significantly worse and more dangerous than it already is.

This is where the HelpUsGreen company comes in. Created by Ankit Agarwal and Karan Rastogi and located in Sarsol, a small village in Kanpur, HelpUsGreen recycles spent flowers from temples and mosques into a range of organic products, including incense, soaps, and natural compost.

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When the company began in 2015, it was met quite a lot of resistance and disbelief. As the founders told Fast Company, temples did not believe that the flowers would be treated with due respect and others doubted whether any money could really come out of the idea at all. But Agarwal and Rastogi proved the pessimists wrong. According to the company’s website, they have since then collected and recycled hundreds of pounds of flowers into organic products – every day, they collect as much as 1.5 tons of flowers – and saved over 2000 pounds of poisonous Arsenic, Lead, and Cadmium from the farm-runoff, pesticides, and insecticides used to grow flowers.

But the company’s mission does not end there. Through their production, HelpUsGreen provides livelihood to over 1200 women and their families from rural areas. The company now works with 29 temples and three mosques – and that is only the beginning of what they are planning to do.

The river Ganges serves over 400 million people so any efforts to help keep chemicals out of this body of water are needed and necessary. Saving the river is an incredibly vital issue – and the company is helping it greatly through its ingenious initiative.

To learn more about HelpUsGreen, click here.

Image source: HelpUsGreen