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Posted by on Jul 6, 2010 in Commentary | 2 comments

Many tea bags aren’t fully biodegradable, report says

Many tea bags aren’t fully biodegradable, report says

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Are you willing to settle for less than the best when it comes to drinking tea? (photo courtesy of Wendy Pastorius, sxc.hu)

A report published by Which? gardening magazine (and picked up by The Guardian) found that tea bags sold in the U.K. are only 70 percent to 80 percent biodegradable.

The tea bags used by popular U.K. tea makers Tetley and Twinnings are made mostly from paper, but they also include heat-resistant polypropylene.

Also keep in mind that the “new wave” of tea bags, made of nylon mesh in round or pyramid shapes (like the new line sold by Lipton) are not biodegradable at all.

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Seeping the larger loose leaf teas in strainers large enough to allow their flavor to bloom will give you a much more enjoyable cup of tea. (photo courtesy of Tommy Johansen, sxc.hu)

Most of the tea found in those grocery store teas or in those tea bags offered for free at your favorite restaurant are made from “tea dust.” It’s the byproduct of sorting and sifting tea leaves. It’s the lowest grade of tea. Yet many people like it because it brews quickly, which is perfect for the impatient caffeine addict.

The most environmentally friendly and palate-pleasing option is to nix the tea bag altogether and acquaint yourself with the joys of drinking loose-leaf tea. There are many styles of tea strainers on the market that allow the larger, more flavorful leaves to brew the perfect cut of tea.

If you are willing to become a more patient tea drinker, find some good loose-leaf tea, whether green, oolong or black. The tea will taste better, cost less money per cup and make it much easier to throw the tea leaves into your yard waste recycling bin or compost pile. Your palate, wallet, and compost pile will thank you.

Tea Strainer
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2 Comments

  1. I never would have thought they weren't biodegradable. Thanks for the info!

  2. Great info, I never thought about that:( Thank you for this:)

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