Flower Recycling Options

Today in the news feed I saw a news that I thought I shall dwell a bit. The news was about a new venture setup by two friends Ankit Agrawal and Karan Rastogi. They are from a place that is pretty close to my heart — Kanpur.  The city is one of the typical polluted industrial city that has grownup organically without much planning. But what these guys did is commendable.

These friends realized that our religious minded people do not like to dump flowers in garbage. They would dispose these flowers in river. The flowers, approximately 80, 00,000 tons  that gets dumped in rivers cause enormous pollution. They have setup a venture to collect these flowers and use vermi-culture to convert it into good organic fertilizer.

It is a novel idea, but I would say it is also a waste of sorts. Flower has many things that we value – smell and color are two most visible thing in flower. Dried and grounded flower powder is often used as gulal that we use during holi. Essential oil from flower can be extracted by many different methods, like:

  • Enfleurage
  • Expressed Oils
  • Steam Distillation
  • Solvent Extraction
  • Fractional Distillation and Percolation
  • Carbon Dioxide Extraction
  • Phytonic Process

More details about it can be found in Nan Martin’s blog.

As we have a huge stock of flower, extracting this oil could lead to substantial increase in our GDP. After extracting the oil we may use the flower for making organic dye, that can be used in our textile and other cottage industries, part of it can also be used to make organic gulal. Only after we have actually extracted the usable parts, we should feed the rest to worms. Worms do not need the perfume and color, we do.

Recycling is good but making full use of the potential is better.

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