• 52 Small Steps

Plastic free tea bags or loose leaf tea?

Did you know most tea bags contain plastic?

Often they have a thin layer of polypropylene to help seal the bags. With all the tea we drink in the UK (over 100 million cups of tea a day!) this adds up to 150 tonnes per year going to landfill or contaminating our compost heaps.

If you watched the second War on Plastic programme by the BBC this year you will have heard about the plastic particles being released by tea bags. Anita Rani visited the University of East Anglia to find out about the plastic skeletons inside many teabags. This is still available on the iplayer if you wish to find out more!

This week's swap is to stop using tea bags containing plastic.

Looking to buy plastic free tea bags or loose leaf tea?

Why not try one of these?

First up are Clipper tea bags which are plant-based, biodegradable, unbleached and non-GM. They use organic tea leaves and are a fairtrade supplier. You can buy them at https://shop.clipper-teas.com/search…* and they are £3.49 for 80 bags.

Pukka Teas not only are plastic free but have a great range of organic herbal teas https://www.pukkaherbs.com/uk/en/products.html. They are currently on offer in Waitrose for £2.50 for 20 bags. (I do however balk a little at having to buy packages for each tea bag I would much prefer a loose leaf version.)

If you are unsure if a brand is plastic free (packaging too) why not give loose leaf a try - are there any refill shops near you where you could take your own tin?

For convenience the loose leaf tea I buy for everyday drinking is PG Tips (I do miss my Yorkshire Tea) because it is a Rainforest Alliance Certified, very reasonably priced, convenient in most supermarkets and not in another package in the box. https://www.pgtips.co.uk/our-teas/looseoriginal.html £2 for 25g or 80 cups.

I recently tried Tealicious loose leaf Earl Grey and really enjoyed it. Although not Fairtrade (as they are such a small company) they use tea providers who are certified by the Ethical Tea Partnership and the Rainforest Alliance. I have asked if we could run a giveaway for their teas and they have kindly provided a brilliant prize – keep your eyes peeled tomorrow! https://tealiciousltd.co.uk/shop 100g is £4.35 although the minimum order is 8 packs. If you are running a retail business or cafe they are well worth a look. Alternatively are they stocked in a refill store near you?

In answer to the question "what do I use for loose leaf tea?"...

Most are used for individual mugs of tea and the strainer is used when having a pot. The shell isn't very good as it doesn't seal very well. My favourites though are the silicon man and mana-tea.

You could keep an eye on charity shops to see if there are some pretty vintage strainers.

Could you make this swap?

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