Plastic in Tea Bags: How to Overcome the Problem?
Everyone loves a cup of hot tea.
It is a great way to start your day.
Teabags offer a convenient way to make your tea. They eliminate the need for using loose tea leaves and straining your tea.
While teabags are popular, they also have their drawbacks.
The current article discusses the use of plastics in teabags and their dangers. It provides alternatives to avoid plastic in tea bags.
The top 12 tea brands that don’t use plastic in their teabags are also discussed.
Dangers of plastic in Tea Bags
Most teabags contain plastics. Some of them can contain up to 25% plastic.
Recent studies and research have revealed that using a single-use teabag at brewing temperature releases up to 11.6 billion small particles. These particles are known as microplastics.
It also releases 3.1 billion nano plastics in your teacup.
Table salt has high microplastic content too. It contains 0.005 micrograms of plastic per gram of salt. An average teacup contains nearly 16 micrograms of microplastic.
Tea manufacturers have to add plastic to their teabags to ensure they maintain their shape in the hot liquid.
Polypropylene which is a plastic polymer is added to teabags for this purpose.
As these teabags contain plastic, they are not entirely compostable. This is bad for the environment.
Consuming microplastics in your teacup is not suitable for your health too. Polypropylene present in your teabags can negatively affect your endocrine system. It can lead to severe and chronic health problems in the long run.
How to avoid Plastic in Tea Bags?
Most people use tea bags as they are convenient. However, plastics used in them are not eco-friendly.
Such teabags are not suitable for your health too.
There are much healthier and convenient alternatives available in the market.
The following are the most popular and secure alternatives to using plastic tea bags that you can consider:
Use Loose Tea
The simplest way to avoid plastic in tea bags is to use loose tea.
Most people avoid using loose tea leaves as they consider it difficult to use.
You can get used to it and may even find it more flavorful than your regular teabag.
The loose tea leaves are more wholesome as they are not grounded fine to fit into a small teabag.
Generally, buying loose tea is cheaper than teabags. You will get it even less expensive if you buy it in bulk.
Using loose tea leaves not only helps you save money; you also contribute to protecting the environment by avoiding plastic in tea bags.
Brewing a cup of excellent tea using loose tea leaves is convenient.
Put loose tea leaves in your teacup.
Boil water and pour it into the teacup containing loose tea leaves.
If you don’t want to drink tea leaves, you can use a good quality stainless-steel strainer.
You can use an electric kettle for boiling water quickly.
If you are a Keurig user, then you should buy a stainless-steel refillable pod instead of using single-use pods. You can put loose tea leaves into the pod and use your Keurig for making a cup of tea.
Prefer Brands That Don’t Use Plastic in Tea Bags
If you only want to use teabags for making your tea, then consider buying eco-friendly tea brands.
You must only buy those tea brands that don’t use plastics in their teabags.
Many brands in the market are committed to being eco-friendly. They don’t use plastics or any other harmful chemicals in their teabags.
Using such teabags will allow you to enjoy your cup of tea without any guilt.
You can ask your local grocer or supermarket for eco-friendly tea brands.
The current article provides some of the top tea brands that are eco-friendly and don’t use plastics in their teabags. You can buy them and enjoy your tea.
Use Tea Crystals
Using tea crystals is another alternative to avoiding plastic in tea bags.
You can mix tea crystals in hot or cold water. They dissolve quickly to make a cup of tea.
There is no need for teabags when you use tea crystals.
Many different brands sell tea crystals. Some of them are loaded with antioxidants containing up to 6 times the antioxidants of tea bags and 20 times that of bottled tea.
There are no preservatives or chemicals added to these tiny tea crystals.
They are also screened for other toxic materials and heavy metals and are healthy for daily use.
Top 12 Brands with Plastic-Free Tea Bags
The top 12 brands that use plastic-free teabags are as follows:
Clipper Organic tea is no ordinary tea bag. Don’t get fooled by the simple packaging and looks.
The tea bags are unbleached and thus produce a more natural color. Each tea bag is organic, free from plastic, and is made using fair trade practices.
Clipper Organic tea is also popular as the first fair trade tea in the world.
Instead of using plastic for sealing the tea bag, this tea brand uses plant-based non-GM material for doing so. It is thus an eco-friendly teabag.
It is one of the most affordable tea in the market.
The brand is committed to being eco-friendly. It is now working on making the inner foil of the packaging completely recyclable.
The Brew Tea Co is a high-quality tea that will leave an impression on you.
The brand uses only whole tea leaves and not tea dust in its teabags.
It is a part of the Ethical Tea Partnership that supports the small tea grower. You will be helping these small tea growers when you buy from them.
The tea bag is made from cornstarch. The inner lining of the packaging box is also made from natural and biodegradable material.
The details of the packaging material and how to recycle it is provided in a thoughtful card placed inside the box.
The tea pyramids of Hampstead Tea are made from GM-free sugar starch.
These tea pyramids are 100% biodegradable and compostable.
It is the first tea brand to come up with a fully compostable teabag.
It takes nearly 91 days for the teabag to compost entirely.
The teabag uses only whole tea and not dust tea.
All ingredients used are entirely organic. There is no use of any harmful chemicals.
The tea is available in different flavors.
The packaging is elegant, and there are no strings and labels.
You also get a handy bamboo tong with this tea which is helpful if you don’t have a spoon readily available.
This is a relatively new tea brand in the market. They are the first brand to remove paper tags from their teabags.
This brand is also a partner of the Ethical Tea Partnership. It stopped using nylon teabags and moved to ones made from soilon.
There is no use of plastic in their teabags. The teabags are sealed using ultrasound instead of glue. This ensures that the teabags are biodegradable and takes 3–6 months to degrade completely.
Composting it will take much longer-nearly 18 months-and thus is not a feasible alternative.
Initially, this brand used plastic in the inner packaging, which was not recyclable. However, it moved to use Nature-flex over time.
This Edinburgh tea brand has a particular niche market. The tea is sourced ethically, and it is a part of the Ethical Tea Partnership.
The brand sells its tea in the form of tea bags or loose tea.
Their teabags are made from soilon. These teabags are not bleached and are entirely biodegradable.
The tag attached to the tea bag is made from unlaminated paper. It is attached to the string through ultrasound.
The inner packaging of this tea is made from Nature-flex and can be fully composted at home.
It is an excellently crafted tea that is free from plastic and is eco-friendly.
Nemi Tea was launched in the year 2017.
Despite being a new entrant, it has made a name for itself.
Their teabags were always plastic-free from day one of their launch. The tea pyramids are made from soilon. They are not bleached and are 100% biodegradable.
There is no use of plastic or any other harmful chemicals in their teabags.
The strings and labels are attached using ultrasound and not glue. The packaging is made from Nature-flex.
Nemi Tea also has a strong social conscience. They support refugees in the UK by employing them in their tea stalls and outlets.
The T2 French Earl Tea Bags is an Australian tea brand. It originated in 1996 and has a global market.
It is strongly committed to being an eco-friendly tea brand. It does not use plastics in its teabags.
The teabags are made from cornstarch. They are opaquer than teabags of other brands.
The teabags are fully compostable. However, if you compost them at home, it may take 18–24 months. It is best to put it into the local food council composting.
The inner plastic is not recyclable, which is a drawback. The company is planning to make the inner packaging material completely recyclable and biodegradable.
Pukka Tea is different from other tea brands. Their tea bags are wrapped in separate envelopes which ensures more freshness and aroma.
The brand is environment-conscious and has completely removed the plastic from their teabags. It took nearly four years of research and hard work for them to come up with their eco-friendly tea bags.
The brand has since then removed more than 100 tons of plastic from its manufacturing process and supply chain.
The paper envelope used to wrap the teabags contains a very thin layer of BPA and PVC free plastic but is recyclable.
The Twinings Pyramid tea bags launched in 2014. Since its launch, it positioned itself as an eco-friendly tea brand.
They did not use plastic in their teabags from their start itself.
Their teabags are made from corn starch. They are treated with enzymes that allow it to be spun into filaments.
The teabags contain loose tea leaves and not crushed or dust tea which provides for an amazing cup of tea. However, each teabag has a label attached to it that is made from plastic and is not biodegradable.
The inner foil wrapper is not recyclable, and the brand is working towards making it recyclable by using natural materials.
Teapigs is a popular tea brand. It is one of the pioneers in being an eco-friendly tea brand.
Teapigs was the world’s first tea brand to receive the plastic-free trust mark.
The teabags of this brand are made from cornstarch. They are completely biodegradable.
The paper tags use vegetable inks and are non-toxic. The teabag is made of Nature-flex and is transparent. You can see the loose tea leaves inside it.
The teabags are 100% compostable. You can compost them at your home in the food recycling bin.
This brand started as a mobile tea bar. They now have a permanent tea café in East London.
Good & Proper Tea has become popular with its customers. They introduced their plastic-free teabags in the year 2017.
These teabags are made from non-toxic and biodegradable material-soilon.
The teabags are compostable. You can compost them at your home. If you want to get it composted faster, then consider putting them at your local food council composter.
This brand’s teabags come in sizeable square shape. The packaging box is also made from a natural and plant-based material that is fully compostable.
The packaging box though is not compostable at home but only at industrial levels.
Roqberry is a unique name in the tea industry. It is much more than your traditional tea brand.
You get different unique and innovative tea flavors from this tea brand. You can enjoy flavors like “black smoke”, “aromatic sushi and spice”, etc. which give a completely new taste.
The teabags are made from soilon and are biodegradable.
It takes a long time to compost it at your home. You should put it for composting at your local food council as it will be done faster- 6 to 8 weeks.
The cube boxes are made from FSC paper which is also completely recyclable.
Originally published at https://www.ecomasteryproject.com on March 8, 2020.