As the world takes a stance against single-use plastics such as polythene bags, plastic bottles, food wrappers, straws, stirrers or styrofoam cups, the unsuspecting tea bag, which also uses plastic, is often ignored.
Teabags contain up to 25% of plastic and while brewing tea a single bag releases about 11.6 billion “microplastics” and 3.1 billion “nanoplastics” per cup. This plastic is not only harmful to human health but also pollutes the environment and works its way up the entire food chain.
But in 2016, childhood friends Upamanyu Borkakoty and Anshuman Bharali decided to make a change and started The Tea Leaf Theory (TTLT), an Assam-based tea company that is manufacturing 100% biodegradable tea bags.
After spending four years in corporate jobs in Delhi, in 2014 the two friends decided to come back to Assam, one of the largest tea producing regions in the world, and try their hand at the sustainable tea business. With the aim of creating a market for local tea farmers and speciality teas from the Northeast region, they began collaborating with farmers across Assam, Darjeeling and Meghalaya.
In 2016, under the Wooláh brand, Truedips was launched. “The leaves are tied to a string and then compressed into a cylindrical form. A quick dip in your teacup with hot water and your tea is ready in 5 minutes,” Upamanyu says. But these tea bags are unique as they can be reused and are produced at a single location which increases the shelf life and enhances its natural flavour.
Watch how TTLT is providing employment to women, helping local farmers and reducing their carbon footprint.