Plastic in teabags? No thanks.
I was shocked, but kind of not surprised, to find out that most tea bags contain plastic.
Plastic gets everywhere. It takes up to 1000 years to decompose. Our seas are teaming with it. Its toxins leak into our food and cause hormonal problems and weight gain. Our waters (including drinking waters) are full of tiny particles of plastic. And eventually, all plastic will end up in the bin, as it can only be recycled so many times.
I’m on a mission to reduce plastic use in my daily life. The last thing I want to do is drink an infusion of plastic and hot water every time I fancy a brew. That’s why I’m switching to loose leaf tea.
Which brands have plastic in their tea bags?
The first thing I wondered when I heard about plastic in tea bags was: what about my favourite brands? Pukka, Clipper, Tea Pigs… surely, they don’t use plastic in their tea bags?
Some don’t. Pukka use ‘a simple stitch of organic cotton and a unique folding process’.
But some do. At the time of writing, even my beloved Clipper, and local brands like Dorset Tea, use plastic in their teabags.
“Tea bags, including the ones we use at Dorset Tea™ are made using paper fibres and a very small amount of plastic, used to bind the paper together. Once the paper has degraded, the remaining fibres are either dispersed in the soil or can be picked out and disposed of.”
According to Pukka:
Tea companies have recently come under scrutiny for the use of polypropylene, a plastic used to heat-seal the edges of teabags. Pukka doesn’t use this kind of material. Instead, we use a simple stitch of organic cotton and a unique folding process. This means we don’t need to use polypropylene to hold our teabags together.
It’s always worth buying from great brands like Tea Pigs and Pukka if you want to enjoy a more ethical brew. PJ Tips recently announced that they’d be cutting down on plastic in some of their tea bags.
But I’ll continue to buy from companies that have always prioritised fair trade ingredients and eco-friendly packaging.
How to make your own loose leaf tea
Making loose leaf tea blends is a great way to reduce plastic usage and consumption, and show big brands like PJ Tips that they’re not even getting so much as a slow clap for jumping on the bandwagon.
What you’ll need:
- Loose leaf tea, fresh herbs, dried herbs and spices
- Ball or tong infuser and/or tea strainer
- Tins, jars or tubs to store your tea infusions
Start with a base, usually black tea (i.e. regular tea that you might have with milk and a biscuit; also known as ‘normalitea’). You can also try green tea or rooibos (red bush) tea.
Add your favourite dried herbs and spices, and maybe a few that you’ve never tried before.
You can also make fresh brews from homegrown herbs – nettle (spring is the ideal time to pick nettles for food and drink), mint (great for an upset stomach), and sage (brilliant for sore throats).
How to measure:
A good rule of thumb is one heaped teaspoon of tea per person, plus one for the pot, and for fresh herbal teas, a few leaves per mug will do nicely. You may need to brew your tea for a few minutes longer than you’re used to.
Have I missed anything? What are your favourite loose leaf teas? Let me know in the comments below.