The last bits of sunlight filter out of the thatched hut but fingers move with dexterity and expertise as the wasted wheat stubble is processed to create a straw. Sunam Taran returned to Assam to be shocked by the despair of local artisans. The change filtered in with his 7 Sister Crafts that in 2018 produced disposable wheat straws to replace plastic.
7 Sister Crafts one-time-use straws made of wheat stubble waste is a healthy sip for businesses working toward a greener diet, and was fashioned after several companies approached them for harmless options. While Bamboo was their first choice, it was too valuable and expensive to use just once which also made the buyers hesitant.
Process: Discarded wheat stubble is thrown into a small van which chugs its way to one of four villages where skilled hands chop them into uniform sizes to boil and dry. Wheat stubble comes with a hollow stem and is a natural choice for disposable straws. Dyes are a no go and the straws turn out the way mother nature has designed them. This product is naturally pro-environment and works weightlessly to alternate plastic straws and paper straws that turn soggy faster than the drink. The effect is one much needed in a country, which according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimates, uses approximately 707 million metric tonnes of plastic a year. 7 Sister Craft has manufactured at least 50,000 straws so far that are biodegradable in six months from usage. Their process runs clean and borrows no electricity, water or chemicals for production. In hands alone they trust!
White Light: 7 Sister Crafts took shape after his father highlighted the plight of surrounding village folk who lived detached from mainstream society and were using the same old methods of design and work. Bamboo is an ancient craft in these parts of India and it was this that prompted Sunam to seek a balance between their traditional craft and modern needs. The wheat straws are his first foray outside Bamboo but Sunam is passionate about coupling Bamboo with other products.
When Bamboo turned out to be difficult, the cogs in his mind moved again and research took shotgun with passion until he found Jute. The problem here lay in the residual smell that lingered unless it was chemically treated. It is then that Wheat cropped its wasted head and one of India’s staple crops got an added futuristic purpose is procured locally from farmers and meets its dusty end about six-months from usage.
His designs boast of originality and come from the vastness of Suman’s organic mind and designers and professors at institutions like NIFD. 7 Sister Crafts supplies to the seven sisters/ states of the Northeast and has crossed continents to reach the United States and Australia.
The experience of his time outside has bred in Sunam Taran a hunger for new ways of thinking and seeking. Empowering farmers was the seed that sowed his business which today exists for empowerment of nature as well as its inhabitants. Sunam is hoping to find additional solutions besides his patented straws and there is a whisper in the winds that Bamboo leaf straws could be next on this rejuvenating menu.