Whenever we seek for a fresh juice or coconut water on a hot summer’s day, we additionally savour this delicious thirst-quencher through a plastic straw.
Plastic straws are only one small part of our environmental problem. Humans have created about 9.1 billion tons of plastic since inventing the material, and we don’t recycle most of it. Straws probably make up a very, very small percentage of our trash worldwide. But they’ve recently gotten a lot of attention because of how difficult they are to recycle.
Since plastic straws take up to 200 years to decompose, it would help if we could find straws that were environment-friendly and easy on the pocket. An Assam-based entrepreneur Sunam Taran, wanted to come up with a sustainable solution for this common problem.
After doing much research and experimentation, he began manufacturing a unique straw made using wheat stubble.
These unique straws are made using agricultural waste cost only Re. 1 (cheaper when you buy in bulk) and decompose within six months, reports The Better India.
Sunam is selling these unique straws under 7 Sister Crafts, a venture he started in August 2018. Under his brand, he also sells goods made from bamboo, like toothbrushes, fruit baskets, bottles, mugs, furniture and even offers services for interior decor design.
The brand has 500 different products in 1,000 designs now.
Moreover, the backbone of the venture are the artisan clusters comprising 1,300 individuals spread across villages like Raipur, Bhaluki, among others. The venture, based out of Barpeta, in Assam, has fulfilled orders from Australia and the US.
In conversation with The Better India (TBI), Sunam shares how he came up with this ingenious invention and how sustainability is an important value in his business operations.
Sunam has a degree in Bachelor’s of Computer Application (BCA) from Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Uttarakhand. After completing his graduation in 2014, Sunam found work as an event manager in far-off Mumbai.
“I worked with several event management companies and managed big events like award shows and music festivals. After freelancing for a bit, I got my dream job at an experiential travel company. Throughout my time in Mumbai, I learnt a lot,” says Sunam.
However, Sunam always wanted to start his own venture with the idea to do something unique. He started brainstorming for a business model and moved back to Assam in 2018. The idea first struck him when he and his father discussed a few things. Sunam’s father, a retired bank employee, had told his son about the scores of bamboo artisans who he would interact with while sanctioning loans.
“This is when the idea first came to me that I could work with the local bamboo artisans. Assam is known all over for its bamboo crafts and although the artisans were really talented, they rarely got an organised platform to sell their products. Most of them sold their wares at the roadside,” he states.
Additionally, Sunam noticed that the artisans made conventional bamboo items that everyone else was making and it lacked novelty. With the will to provide access to market channels and add a versatile range of products, he started 7 Sister Crafts. The products are made by local artisans at their homes and Sunam supervises these artisan clusters when he can.