Avoid plastic in tea bags by drinking loose leaf tea
When you put the kettle on, you’re likely thinking about the delicious, warm beverage you’re about to consume. You’re probably not thinking about the plastic in tea bags. It is estimated that 96% of tea bags contain plastic, those that do are about 25% plastic. In fact, a single cup of brewed tea contains 15 micrograms of plastic.
Not only are you ingesting plastic, but you’re then throwing the rest of the plastic tea bag away. With 84% of the British populating drinking tea daily – about 100 million cups per day – this adds up very quickly.
Why is there plastic in tea bags?
The majority of tea bags contain a plastic polymer called polypropylene. This plastic is used so that the tea bags can seal and keep their shape even in hot liquid. Though 20% may not seem like a lot, it adds up rapidly due to the rate at which we drink it.
When you compost a tea bag, you can come back to it a year later and find it still intact. The paper component of the tea bag will be gone, yet the plastic continues to hold its shape. It will remain for years to come, as it is slowly broken down into microplastics.
Why plastic in tea bags is unhealthy
When you drink a cup of tea, billions of nanoscopic pieces of plastic are released from the tea bag, into your cup. Aside from sounding unappetizing, this can actually be really bad for the human body. Polypropylene, in particular, is linked to causing genetic mutations and tumours, as well as issues with the endocrine system. It’s also known to be bad for the reproductive system, as it can mimic estrogen in females, which then causes fertility and conceiving troubles.
*This post may contain affiliate links on plastic free coffee cup, which means I make a small commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
Drink loose leaf tea
Loose leaf tea is an excellent alternative to traditional tea bags, which allows you to skip the plastic altogether. It is arguably more flavourful, as the leaves have not been ground down to dust in order to fit in a small tea bag. Loose leaf tea is also often less expensive, as it is priced by weight rather than by tea bag. It can be purchased at bulk stores as well, giving you the option to reuse containers you already own and cut down on packaging. When you’re done with the tea, you can compost it!
There are several brands that offer plastic free loose leaf tea. For example, Arbor Teas offers loose leaf tea, packaged in compostable cellulose material. The UK Loose Leaf Tea Company ships tea in paper bags, so you can then transport the tea into your own storage container. In fact, they offer 100% plastic free shipping, as well!
To drink loose leaf tea, you simply need to choose a receptor to infuse it. Balance Bags™: Organic, zero waste reusable tea bags rest on the lip of your cup. They’re reusable and machine washable.
Or you can youse an infuser like this one. The infuser acts just as a tea bag would.
If you don’t have a tea infuser, you can also use a french press. Some people prefer to use a mug strainer while others just use a slotted spoon to catch the leaves as they pour the tea into their mug.
Curious about other ways you can help out? Read my blog on reusable coffee cups. Before you go, make sure to comment below and let me know where you like to get your loose leaf tea from!
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