There’s nothing better than a fresh cup of green tea in the morning or a warm chai to end your day, but the question is, how wasteful are your tea bags? You’re probably aware that anything you have to throw away and that doesn’t decompose is technically wasteful, but surprisingly, conventional tea bags are also made of plastic. In fact, almost 25% of the tea bag is made of small tiny pieces of plastic, otherwise known as microplastics.
Microplastics might even be worse than other forms of plastic since they’re too small to recognize and end up sneaking their way into your home, even if you’re a conscious consumer! If you’re an avid tea drinker, here’s everything you need to know about plastic tea bags and a greener alternative to enjoy your favorite beverage in the most sustainable way!
Why Is There Plastic in Tea Bags?
If this is your first question, we’re right there with you! When you think of tea, the last thing you’re thinking about is plastic, yet around a quarter of the bag is made of plastic. Even worse, one study found that there are billions of microplastics and nanoplastics in just one cup of tea.
The real question is, why is there any plastic in our tea bags? Well, in order for the tea to be able to brew in extremely hot water, it has to be made of a material that can withstand hot temperatures. Polypropylene, a complex plastic, is added to create the tea bag and makes it durable enough to steep in water. Not only does this mean your beverage contains pieces of plastic, but it also means that each and every tea bag can’t fully decompose.
Even though there are other ways around this issue, most brands aren’t creating plastic-free tea bags since it’s more expensive to produce. Beyond that, most consumers weren’t even aware that there was plastic in their tea bags to begin with, so an influx in price would be a shock.
How to Avoid Plastic Tea Bags: The Green Alternative
Does this mean you should avoid tea at all costs? Not exactly! Tea is beneficial for several health reasons, like being a great source of antioxidants, soothing sore throats, reducing stress, or even just providing comfort as a warm beverage. And just like any other wasteful product or lifestyle habit, there’s a greener alternative that lets you enjoy the simple things in life without putting the planet at risk!
To reduce your own tea bag waste and avoid the risk of consuming microplastics, opt for loose-leaf tea! Tea bags have previously been favored over loose-leaf tea, simply because of convenience, but without knowledge of the plastic content. Loose-leaf tea is now sold in tin containers, making it easy enough to scoop into your own stainless steel strainer without any mess!
Need a good Reusable Metal Tea Strainer?
Not only is this the most eco-friendly way to enjoy your tea, but it’s also cost-effective. Once you have your strainer, which is a one time purchase, you can continue buying loose-leaf tea that’s priced based on weight rather than priced by the bag. Even more, you’ll never have to waste another tea bag again. You can officially consider your morning, afternoon, and nighttime beverage as zero-waste approved!
Hey, thanks so much for the 411 on plastic tea bags. I had no idea plastic was in them. I always avoid using hot water with plastics rated below 5…do the tea baggers use less than 5? I sure hope so, because I’ve drunken so much tea over the years!
You have really opened my eyes to ways we and the environment are hurt by certain lifestyle habits – and a green alternative! Thank you once again!!