Making Your Tea Greener: Environmental impact of teabags! The Strathearn Tea Refillery will provide a real world alternative to plastic tea bags as well as a while range of eco-based products to help combat the carbon footprint crisis. Why? Well…
Strathearn Tea has committed to going carbon neutral and then into positivity. How do we do this? Well for a start, it means examining our carbon footprint, and evaluating emissions throughout tea cultivation, processing, transportation, packaging, delivery, and consumption...and all the nuanced steps in between.
What does this mean for you? Keep reading, and I will discuss:
Which is better for the environment: loose-leaf or tea bags? How does plastic fit into the equation?Is coffee or tea more sustainable? What are the differences in water and carbon footprints of these drinks?
Brew a cup of our green tea and let’s get started :)
Loose Leaf vs Tea Bags: Plastic Pollution & Carbon Footprint
Ever wonder what your tea bag is made of? Ok, brace yourselves for the dark truth...plastic. Yes, plastic even though it's so flexible.
While your teabag may look natural or biodegradable, don’t take that for granted. In 2019, a group at McGill University in Montreal conducted a study on plastics in tea bags and came to a shocking result: a single tea bag can release more than 3 billion nanoplastic particles and 11 billion microplastic particles into your cup during a steep.
What does that mean for your health? Well, the plastic particles are impossible to see with the human eye, and so small that some could potentially infiltrate human cells...
How is plastic used in tea bags?
Many large tea companies use plastic in the making of their tea bags to fortify them, even if it’s a “paper” tea bag. Pressed paper tea bags with crimped edges are sealed using a plastic melt, meaning that the bag ends up containing 20-30% plastic.
‘Silken’ tea bags are always made from plastic, not silk, and while the string-and-tag tea bag may be secured with a staple or not, they often have plastic fibers added to the paper for strength, not to mention glues. This is still true therefore in a host of teabags labelled as biodegradable, because there is no regulation on this!
Do tea bags or loose leaf tea have a larger carbon footprint?
One last big tea-bag negative: they require more material point blank. While loose leaf tea comes in a single canister or bag, tea in tea bags are first individually packaged in the tea bag, and then are often wrapped in a second wrapper for freshness, then usually in a cardboard box, then often in a cellophane wrapper. It's ridiculous!
This additional packaging and processing also adds to the carbon footprint of tea bags - which is 10 times higher than loose leaf tea!! When trying to embrace a greener, less wasteful, less carbon heavy life, loose leaf is definitely the way to go.
So, the answer to, is loose leaf tea more environmentally friendly than tea bags? Yes yes yes!!
Thank you for reading and we hope you’ll be joining us on the loose tea revolution!