Tea bags are a problem because tea bags, the actual bag that you thought was paper, does in fact contain plastic. This came to light when keen composters found fine plastic mesh in their compost bins. It was the plastic web that holds the teabags together and that doesn’t biodegrade.
The following was taken from the Guardian A report published today by Which? Gardening reveals that teabags produced by top tea manufacturers such as Tetley, PG Tips, Twinnings, Clipper and Typhoo are only between 70-80% biodegradable. As a result, gardeners are finding the net part of teabags – caused by the inclusion of heat-resistant polypropylene – left on their compost heaps. Which? Gardening contacted the major tea manufacturers to check the content of their products. PG Tips responded: “‘Like most of the teabags in the UK, our teabags are made with about 80% paper fibre, which is fully compostable along with the tea leaves contained in the bag. The remaining packaging includes a small amount of plastic which is not fully biodegradable.”
The only alternative is loose tea. Initially this might seem like a lot of faff. First you will need to source some loose tea. There are tea merchants who specialize in fine teas. Health food shops also are good for a go. Wholefood Market do a good range and here in Huddersfield you can try Choosy’s Tea Merchant in town or the stall on Todmorden Market. You might want to take your own bags.
You can find a full list of loose tea merchants here. If you know of any please leave details in the comments.
Pots, Strainers & Balls to you Mrs!
Next you will need a teapot and, unless you fancy taking up fortune telling, something to stop the leaves getting in your cup. You can get great teapots from charity shops. I favor the stainless steel 70s version, good for traveling in the van with. You can get all metal tea strainers if you look. Try the market, Ebay or Amazon. I am not a big fan of tea strainers. They dribble and you need a saucer to put them on. And you have the icky job of removing the tea leaves from the pot afterwards, a soggy business at the best of times. No, I like these mesh balls. You put the tea in them then put them in the pot. At the end you empty them in the compost bin without worrying about nasty plastic mesh. Easy as! You can even get some teapots that have integrated diffusers built in.
If you take milk, you will need to get yourself a milk man who delivers milk in glass bottles and possibly a milk jug!
So now we are good to go. Put the leaves in the pot (or the mesh ball first) add boiling water and let it brew. Pour milk into a nice cup, pour tea, sit back and enjoy.
If you cannot do without teabags you can try these from Twinings. Yes like the others the bag contains plastic but the box is not wrapped in plastic and bags come in a gold shiny packet. It looks like plastic but it is biodegradable and compostable. Teapigs do plastic free teabags though the packaging appears to contain some plastic. Also they are very expensive. You would have to really hate the idea of a tea pot to use these on a regular basis.
Being committed to local shopping I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source.
If you can’t buy local, please do check the links in the posts. They link direct to the suppliers. Do consider buying from them and support their online businesses.
If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know…
Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them. Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However these links are for 3rd party sellers, we have always found the Amazon service to be good and their packaging usually compostable. In the absence of anything else we feel we can recommend them.
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