Cup of tea? Don’t mind if we do, thanks!
As a nation, we’re a little smitten with a good cup of tea. And this love affair is fully justified; is there really anything more satisfying than a hot cup of brew that you can dunk your favourite biscuit in? It’s love in a mug, for sure.
However, as much as a cup of tea is a go-to comfort drink during the mid-morning tea break, there’s a lurker in our bags…and it’s probably not what you’re expecting: plastic.
Standard tea bags – the dunking kind, as opposed to loose-leaf tea – aren’t one hundred percent biodegradable. Most of the ingredients are paper fibre (around 80% as an average), however to keep the tea leaves inside of the ‘bag’ (no one likes a leaf burst mid-stir), many brands heat-seal the contents. This means that a thin layer of polypropylene, essentially ‘sealing plastic’, is used to fasten the bags together to stop the leaves from falling out. Many tea bags also contain acrylic copolymer emulsion, which is a plastic-based glue.
This isn’t great news for the eco-tea drinker, especially since a tea-bag doesn’t come across as a plastic-dweller. If you’re like many eco-conscious recyclers, you’ll likely usually put your tea bags into the compost bin, however due to the plastic component, not all of the tea bag will be broken down, leading to plastic pollution.
The solution? Switching to loose leaf tea is one, however not everyone is going to head for this option. And we think it’s a fair judgement to say that not many people will easily give up their daily-dose of the good stuff. Fortunately, some savvy earth-loving companies have come up with a range of plastic free tea bags. Panic over.
One such brand, Madura Tea, offers silk infuser pyramid bags that are 100% plastic free tea bags, and are made with eco-friendly technology too – bonus! There are no glues, and while their packaging does contain a metallised film (consisting of PET and Bi-Orientated Polypropylene) to keep the product fresh, this is still recyclable. What makes this company great too, is that they keep on researching – they are currently trailing a filter paper that is made only from natural products. Their love for the planet is very evident! That’s the kind of company we like to get on board with.
Pukka Tea is also a winner when it comes to plastic free tea bags – their tea bags are stitched together with organic cotton, and their tea bag strings are also the same, as well as being non-GMO (genetically modified organism) and unbleached. This makes the tea bag fully compostable and recyclable – tea drinking as it should be.
Where do you stand when it comes to plastic free tea bags? Have you got a brand that you adore who are super eco-friendly? Share your favourites in the comments; we’d love to check them out!