Nowadays you can find plastic everywhere. Even your innocent cup of tea can contain plastic if you do not pay attention. Most tea bags contain polypropylene. Some tea bags, like the ‘silken’ pyramid-shaped tea bags, are entirely made out of plastic. Polypropylene is a form of plastic that is unfortunately not biodegradable. It is often blended with the paper for the tea bags to make the paper stronger and to seal the bags. Even the paper bag for your teabag is sometimes lined with plastic to keep your tea bag ‘fresh’. Often there is also plastic in the sting and the tag attached to the teabag. Pouring boiled water over all this plastic and drinking it suddenly does not sound like such a good idea. So, what are the alternatives?
There are so many different tea brands available. Most contain the plastic mentioned above. Some are very clear on the package about the fact that they are plastic-free while most don’t mention anything on the package. In my experience, if the package doesn't mention that the tea is plastic free or compostable it probably isn’t. Some tea brands that do not use plastic for the string or tea bag are Celestial Seasonings, Pukka, Clipper and Yogi. When you are not sure if your favorite tea brand uses plastic you can contact their consumer service for more information.
Loose tea leafs
When you start exploring loose tea leafs a whole new world opens up for you. But, there are a few things you need to make the perfect loose teapot. You need something to filter your tea. You could use a reusable bag made out of cotton (like this one). Make sure you boil the bag prior to first use and don’t wash the bag with soap to avoid funny flavors. There are different sizes available. Small ones for if you want just one cup or larger ones if you fancy a large pot for the whole family.
A tea infuser for your teapot is also an option. Most fit the opening of your teapot for easy use. In my opinion, this stainless steel version is much easier to use and clean compared to reusable bags but this is also personal preference.
Do you usually only make one cup of tea? Maybe a mesh teaspoon is for you. This simple tool opens and closes by squeezing the handle and fits enough loose tea for one cup of your favorite hot beverage.
Do you like coffee as well as tea? Maybe a french press is for you. This is a very popular zero waste option and it is very easy to use. Put ground coffee or loose tea into it, add boiling water and press the plunger after a few minutes. Make sure you rinse the French press properly between tea and coffee. I am not much of a coffee drinker and I don’t like my tea with a coffee flavor.
A tea tumbler is a great option if you would like your tea on the go. They are insulated so they can keep your drink hot or cold for hours. Often, the infuser is removable for easy cleaning.
To sum up, here are a few options to avoid plastic teabags to make your life more sustainable. Which option do you use to make plastic-free tea?