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BOULDER - If you ever visit Third Street Chai, do not be surprised if the owners take you directly to the back of the factory to show you the place they put their trash.
While the company is extremely proud of their products, it is what happens to the steaming pile of ingredients after it is used to make the chai, black and green tea, that sets them apart from their competitors.
Once the brewing process is over, the leftovers are heaped into a special bin and eventually sent to Boulder County farmers and used as compost. Through this process, the company says it was able to keep 47 tons of waste from being sent to landfills.
The company's commitment to sustainability does not end there. Third Street Chai ingredients are organic and fair trade certified, the company's electricity is completely offset by wind-power and all of its bottles are recyclable.
The company was started back in 1995 by two friends, who saw an opportunity to sell chai tea to downtown Boulder coffee shops. At first, the founders were mixing the chai by hand and delivering it in their personal cars. By 1997, they had moved to a commercial kitchen and were delivering to dozens of local coffee shops.
In 2000, Whole Foods asked the company to expand their offerings to include retail items-so the company converted an old auto repair garage into a brewery. The company grew out of that facility, moving to its current 10,000 square foot facility northeast of Boulder, in 2006.
Third Street Chai has also expanded its offerings and now sells concentrated ice tea and lemonade in addition to its wide variety of chai teas. You can find all of their products in Whole Foods and King Soopers stores, as well as other natural grocers.
For more about the company go to their website: 3rdstreetchai.com.