Honestly, a good cup of tea can solve anything. Warm you up on a cold day, soothe a painful throat, and even make you feel better when nothing else will.
I often find myself reaching for a hot cup of herbal tea when I wake up in the morning and again before I close my eyes at night. So, I am sure you understand the disappointment I was in when I found out that there was plastic in tea bags. Say what?!
It is a dark secret that not many people, including myself, knew about the tea industry until recently.
Why Do Most Tea Bags Contain Plastic?
Firstly, let’s talk about how tea bags are made. This short video from BBC explains it pretty well!
They mentioned that there is plastic in most tea bags, however, did not go into much detail explaining. Basically, a plastic called polypropylene is used to seal the tea bags and ensure that they hold their shape.
Why Is This Bad For The Environment & Your Health?
Polypropylene is hard to recycle and does not break down. If you are like me and had been composting your tea bags, I am afraid that this will not entirely compost.
Another reason you should avoid traditional tea bags is that polypropylene is harmful to your body. Not only is this plastic known to leach chemicals into food and drink, it can also disrupt the endocrine system and mimic estrogen levels.
What Can You Do?
There are a few things that you can do to avoid plastic in tea bags.
Plastic Free Bags
Firstly, you can research and purchase tea from brands which you know do not use plastic in their tea bags. If there is no credible information online, the brand probably does use plastic. Emailing them is a great way to find out for sure.
A great example of a brand that doesn’t is Pukka Tea.
”Our tea bag paper is made of a special blend of natural abaca (a type of banana), wood pulps and plant cellulose fibres. They are staple-free, stitched together with organic cotton. The tea bag strings are made from 100% organic, non-GMO cotton.” – Pukka Tea
Loose Leaf Tea
The next (and best) option is to purchase loose leaf teas. I have recently switched to loose leaf and will not turn back! This is a total zero waste alternative to tea bags, and the flavour is just that much better. When tea leaves break or get crushed during the manufacturing process they are labelled into three categories; Broken Orange Pekoe, Fannings and dust based on the particle size. The smaller the particle, the lower the quality of the tea. Loose leaf is not made from this ‘dust’ and instead made from large chunks of fruit, spice, and other herbs, making it taste phenomenal!
While there is probably plastic in your tea bags, it is nothing you cannot do something about! Switching to plastic-free bags or loose leaf are great ways to decrease your plastic consumption when it comes to tea and your taste buds will thank you for it!
Did you know about plastic in tea bags? Let me know in the comments below.