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Sun Block Homemade

The following information is for guidance only. None of the following recipes or tips have not been tested on anyone other than me. I strongly advise you do your own research and proceed very carefully as sunburn is not only painful and aging but dangerous.

That said the following has worked for me. And I have no melamine at all. Which makes me well skilled in the art of tanning without burning and even more so in the art of hiding from the sun. But this knowledge was not easily won.

More

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

A Tannning History

Growing up as I did I in the 70s in the north of England sun tan lotion was something of a mystery. If it was mentioned at all it was as an expensive and rather pointless luxury talked about in the more expensive women’s magazines. My Granddad was a window cleaner, a man out in all weathers, and he never used anything more than a flat cap for protection from the elements. Even my mother who had been to Spain and had a French pen friend scoffed at such nonsense. Vegetable oil she claimed was all any one needed for tanning. On the few occasions we did see the sun we would lie like chips frizzeling in the heat – till the oil ran out. This usually happened within the first few days as we never had much of anything in our pantry. My mothers housekeeping skills were not of the best.   But even in the short time it was available, I soon came to realise that oil offered  absolutely no protection from the sun.

Having run out of oil mother now claimed that even that was unnecessary. Her latest theory was that you had to burn blistering hard once. Then, when you finally emerged from your darkened room having painfully sloughed the destroyed outer layer skin, you would be immune to the destructive power of the sun. For ever after at the first hint of summer, you would tan a beautiful golden brown. Needless to say this didn’t work either. I burnt and shed but never actually tanned. Lucky we lived in Manchester where Summer, at least one with sunshine, was a rare beast and I only had to suffer this infrequently. But I have come to realise that even if you do build up an immunity to the sun you can still burn – Even people with tans.

I was 15 before I saw real sun. We went to France and a tube of sun tan lotion was bought to celebrate. However it was so expensive that it was severely rationed and we all ended up blistered and peeling and my faith in suntan lotion rather compromised. Most people it seems do not apply enough lotion. You need to be liberal which can be difficult if you are on a budget. And sun tan lotion used to be very expensive and though there are more budget options now, cost can be a consideration.

So I went over to the pale and interesting school. Which involved a lot of covering up. Again fairly easy in Manchester where we hardly ever disrobe.

But then I started backpacking. Maintaining a pallid complexion is hard work when you spend a lot of time outside, snorkelling or mountaineering. I minimise the risk with sensible hats and long sleeve shirts but beaches demand less clothes and swimming of course is always more dangerous with the risk of forgetting the time. Somehow because I am cool in the water I think I am safe to stay out just a little bit longer. And even a short walk up that blazing beach can leave me red and painful. But also and this seems
Really unfair, even cloudy days can lead to burning.

I realised that I needed sun tan / block lotion and lots of it. And it needs to be applied regularly. Even in cloudy weather. I came to this conclusion just as I was giving up plastic. So not only did I have to learn to use sunblock and had to learn how to make it. I have been using zinc based, home-made sun block lotion for about 5 years now. I know it stops me from burning because I burn when I don’t use it. Obviously it has not been tested in a lab and I cannot guarantee results. I still try to limit my exposure to the sun but I feel this cream definitely helps me. I offer this personal account for discussion only. If you do decide to make your own lotion please do more research.

Why Sunscreen
Sunscreens help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin.
There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB
UVB is the chief cause of sunburn and linked to sun cancer. UVA rays, penetrate the skin more deeply, and contribute to photoaging.
You need a cream that protects from both.

SPF
Sun protective factor provided by cream is measured in SPF
SPF factors only measure protection against UVB. You will need a cream that also protect from other kinds of rays.

SPF4 filters out 75% of UVB
SPF10 filters out 90% –
SPF15 filters out 93%
SPF25 filters out 96%
SPF30 filters out 97%
SPF50 filters out 98%
SPF100 99%
Source

Zinc Oxide
I have settled on zinc oxide as the active ingredient in my sun block.
This is a fine white powder easily available on line.
It coats the skins and so reflects the damaging and burning rays of the sun.
It protects the skin from UVA, UVB and UVC. According to www.aromantic.co.uk website (where you can buy zinc and get advice on how to use it), It is one the oldest and most effective sunblock and
It can be easily added to base lotions and oils.

No to Nano Zinc

So zinc is great BUT it is a white powder and stronger mixes can sit on the skin like a pasty mask. Make your lotion too strong and you look like Marcel Marceau. You don’t burn but you look freaky. To counter this some suggest using nano zinc.
Nano or micronized zinc oxide is zinc oxide that  has been ground to a very fine powder to reduce the size of its particles. Anything with a particle size smaller than 100nm is considered a nano particle. This means it spreads more easily and does not leave a white sheen on the skin.The worry is that particles this size may be able to enter the body.
Because of that I use normal zinc. In stronger concentrations it does leave a slight white sheen. It can also leave white marks on dark clothes. Wear white linen is the obvious answer to this. Or work on your locked in a glass box mime.

Using Zinc In Homemade Sun Block

Notes
There are claims that certain oils like coconut oil have a natural SPF. This may well be true but I strongly advise not to rely on this.
None of the below have been tested in lab and you have no accurate way of knowing  what SPF your lotion has. Proceed sensibly!
If in doubt Make your lotion stronger then dilute as you tan.
Too much zinc and you end up with white clown makeup. In this case you may have been overcautious.

You can add zinc to
home made creams and lotions (if you want to make a lotion there are some recipes here)
ready bought lotions
a base oil such as coconut oil.

20% zinc oxide  will give an approximate SPF of 30. That is by weight. So you weigh your base say 100g of cream then you add 20% or 1/5th of zinc. Which is 20g of zinc.You can see from the ratios below that SPF 15 is not half of SPF 30 so you cannot use that scale to work out your SPF factors.
For SPF 2-5: Use 5% zinc oxide
For SPF 6-11: Use 10% zinc oxide
For SPF 12-19: Use 15% zinc oxide
For SPF >20: Use 20% zinc oxide

These ratios were taken from DIY Natural. They have not been tested in a lab proceed with caution

Recipes

Masking Creams
Zinc
Thicker cream
Very strong and thick. To be used on vulnerable areas that burn easily.

First I make my own rather thick cream and then add the zinc at 20% ratio. This makes a super thick cream which is difficult to rub on large areas but great for masking specified areas. I use it to protect my great big nose and around my eyes.
For general application it is too tough and sticky.
Find out how to make cream here

Oily Cream
Zinc
Cream
OIl
You can thin the above thick cream down by adding oil. N.B. You cant use water for this. Add water and your cream starts to separate when you try to rub it on.
Oily cream goes on way more easily but obviously the more you dilute is lower the SPF factor.
The advantage of this cream is that it is thicker than oil so easier to apply – less dribbling.
It does not separate.

Sun Block Oils
Zinc
Oil – I have used both coconut and rice bran oil

More recently I have cut out the middle man or rather the cream and started adding zinc directly to oil. It would seem that my mother was half right!
Which Oil?
I guess you could do this with any oil but I prefer a lighter oil less gloopy than say olive oil.
I have usually used coconut oil as a base because it is light and easily obtained in glass jars. Some claim that coconut oils has an ability to deflect burning rays but the claims made for coconut oil are prodigious. Do not rely on coconut oil alone.
The problem with coconut oil in the UK at least, it solidifies below a certain temperature. This sun tan lotion needs to be liquid and well shaken before use because the ingredients separate. So if you use coconut oil, warm and shake it before applying.
More recently I used rice bran oil which is much cheaper and easily available. At least that is the case in Thailand. It is a light oil and does not solidify.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE
The ingredients separate so the lotion must be well shaken before use. If you are using an oil that solidifies like coconut you need to be sure it is liquid and well mixed before use.

Advantages Of Oil
Oily creams and oils are great for the beach because I feel they don’t wash off so easily in the sea as home made lotions do. And the oil itself seems to act as an added protection against the general drying effect of salt water and heat. My skin doesn’t feel as itchy. But then I am only using two ingredients no fragrances, no preservatives.
They give your skin a rather nice sheen.
And it is As Cheap As Chips
Adding zinc to rice bran oil is super cheap which means you can liberally apply this lotion. Very good if you are on a budget. Plus I get to use the oil for other things.
The disadvantages? – well it is rather… oily…

Non OIly Sun Block
Zinc
Glycerine
This is a work in progress

But oily sun block is, well, oily. Anywhere near the hairline and it has the disastrous effect of making my locks all greasy. Not a problem on the beach where my hair is normally wet and again the coconut oil help protect it from going madly dry. But in town not such a good look.
Until now I have been adding zinc to a very thin, homemade lotion. It makes the lotion much thicker and I find it rather heavy to wear.

Since the oil zinc success I have tried adding zinc to neat vegetable glycerine. It seems to work fine but this is a work in progress.
The resulting lotion feels a bit sticky when you are applying it but that soon wears off.
It is much lighter than zinc creams.
The ingredients tend to separate so it needs shaking.
It is very very easy to make.

Store Bought Creams
Apparently you can add zinc to a store bought cream to make a suntan lotion. I have never tried this as I gave up shop bought years ago. But considering the success off adding it to oil I can see no reason why this wouldn’t work. Do remember that zinc makes your lotion thicker and much whiter. It might be a good idea to use a thin lotion as a base.
Apparently it helps if you warm them first.
Let me know how you get on!

Applying Cream
Sunscreens are unlikely to be fully effective after 2 hours
According to the skin cancer organisation  “you need to apply 1 oz – about a shot glass full. Studies show that most people apply only half to a quarter of that amount, which means the actual SPF they have on their body is lower than advertised. During a long day at the beach, one person should use around one half to one quarter of an 8 oz. bottle. Sunscreens should be applied 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. Reapplication of sunscreen is just as important as putting it on in the first place, so reapply the same amount every two hours. Sunscreens should also be reapplied immediately after swimming, toweling off, or sweating a great deal.

More

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

Travelling Plastic Free For Months
This discovery massively reduces your plastic when travelling. I carry all my own home made plastic free toiletries with me to avoid creating plastic waste which can present something of a problem. A years supply of sunblock is a lot to carry. So now I compromise. I take my own zinc and buy coconut oil (or rice bran oil) while travelling. I mix the zinc into the coconut oil to make a sun tan lotion great for the beach.

Microfine Titanium Dioxide

This is another product you can use to make your own sun block.

“Microfine Titanium Dioxide is accepted as a safe Sun Barrier all around the world. This is because it is inorganic and has a record of having no adverse reactions to it. This makes it ideal for products used on a daily basis.
It can be used in Sun Screens, Moisturisers, Powdered Make-up, Lip and Baby products and virtually any Skin Treatment product.
Adding 5% Microfine Titanium Dioxide to a product gives it a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of approximately 10 and protects against 90% UVA/UVB and UVC radiation. Adding 10% gives it a SPF of 15-20.
Add during the heating of the Vegetable Oil in the Fat Stage of making your product.”
The following information is from the www.aromantic.co.uk website.

< span style="color: #ff0000;">Fragrance
Many recipes on line suggest adding essentials oils. In my opinion there is no real benefit to be derived from this as
they may make your skin more sensitive to light;
essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.
You can read more here

PLASTIC SPOILER

You can buy zinc on line.
It will come in a plastic bag- booo.
The best you can do is ensure the bags are polythene and so can be more easily recycled.
As I get huge amounts cream out of one small bag of ingredients, I consider it a worthwhile compromise.

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2017 August

Summer and it’s time for high tea with

Strawberry jam and scones
First pick your strawberries. Unless you have been super organised and grown some, you will need to visit a pick your own farm. Find a PYO farm here ….
Now you can make some jam. I know you can get it in glass jars but the lids are plastic lined. Jam recipe here

And Cucumber Sandwiches
Cakes can be tricky but Asian stores and Polish delis often stock the smaller kind.

And then of course you need a nice cup of tea…
What’s in your tea bag? Paper and tea? you wish! Most teabags contain one or more
Plastic
Thermoplastics
Epichlorohydrin
And have been chlorine bleached.
There are plastic free teabags but they often come plastic packed.
And yet in a strange twist of fate you can get conventional tea bags that contain plastic in compostable packaging.

Read up about it here.

After which you will no longer want to use a conventional tea bag ever again. And you will have to be super rich to afford the cleaner greener alternatives even if you can find them in plastic free packaging. And please let me if you do.
So what to do when you want a nice cup of tea?
Loose leaves are the way forward. But how to steep them? If you are brewing up for the WI, a teapot is fine but what when you want a quick cuppa for one?
You can get cotton bags that you can use to make your own teabags but really who can be bothered with that kind of faff.

I have found that a steel mesh single cup infuser works perfectly. It sits on your mug, you fill it with loose tea, let the brew, brew then remove. Really no effort at all and very easy to empty into the compost bin after. Mine was given as a gift but I have found something similar on Amazon

Fun In The Sun

Don’t forget if you are going out berry picking to slap on some sun block.
Sun protection even on cloudy days is vital. But dont listen to me, have a look at www.skincancer.org website an invaluable source that should be read by everyone. Though you might find yourself spending the rest of Summer cowering in a cellar coming out only after dark after doing so.
But educate yourself and you can enjoy the sun sensibly.

More

There is lots more information about sun protection here. Do read up before you decide to make your own.

Oily Sun Tan Lotion

The following information is for guidance only. None of the following recipes or tips have not been tested on anyone other than me. I strongly advise you do your own research and proceed very carefully as sunburn is not only painful and aging but dangerous.

I have been mixing up sun tan lotion using zinc from home with rice bran oil bought in a Thai supermarket.
It chose an oil in a plastic bottle but there is a reason for that. On the island we are staying I have seen several points where plastic bottles are collected for recycling and none for glass. I have seen a lot of glass bottles piled up round the bins. Judging by the dust and weeds they have been there a long time. So I while I could have got coconut oil in a glass jar, I chose rice bran in a PET plastic bottle. principals are fine but not if they add to everlasting waste trashing up this island. And glass also lasts forever, is heavy and costs a lot to transport. PET plastic bottles are easy to recycle. They are the plastic most often collected by litter pickers because they have a value.
So I chose to buy one big plastic bottle of oil because it is most likely to be disposed of “properly”.

I added the zinc to oil to make lotion which so far seems to be working. You can see my recipe here. making your own sunblock

Rest Of The Oil
It was a very big bottle so I used some more oil to make
suntan lotion you can see my recipe here.
It can also be used to make

After sun lotion
I don’t believe all the hype about essential oils. That said it seems that lavender essential really might help with burns. And it is grown locally in Yorkshire. So I use lavender oil added to a carrier oil to make a soothing after sun lotion.

Mosquito repellent
I also use citronella essential oil mixed in a carrier oil as a mosquito repellent. I don’t know if it really works by which I don’t know if it repels Mosquitos. I feel it does and it certainly seems to soothe bites and reduce irritation. Obviously mosquitos present a real risk of malaria and you should consider your options very carefully before you proceed with this option.

Essential oils
Essential oils are resource hungry, have a large environmental footprint and should only be used on special occasions.
You can read more here

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About The Alternatives

Living plasticfree sometimes means going alternative. Trying different things. There are many kinds of different alternatives talked about out there in Google land,  some credited with the most fantastic attributes. But before you reach for the bicarbonate of soda and depend only on vinegar to sanitizer your kitchen, it might be worth investigating a little further.

This series of posts looks beyond the claims and tries to assess if these alternatives are indeed that great or even that greener in the long run,

Fatty Acids – Oils, Butters & Waxes

Fossil fuel oil is slippery is very versatile. As well being the base for most plastics and driving our cars ...
Read More

Essential Oils

Essential oils have gone from being an obscure aspect of botany to an all round marketing  ‘good thing’.  Almost every ...
Read More

Natural fibres for brushes

Natural fibre brushes come in many sizes - you can get everything from big bristly brushes for sweeping yards to ...
Read More

Natural V Synthetic fabric

In April I am going to be trawling through my wardrobe, ( such as it is). here is some background ...
Read More

Natural Fibres & Bristles

A  guide to natural and biodegradable fibres that are safe to compost and can be  washed without shedding tiny plastic microfibres ...
Read More

Glass

Things to consider when choosing glass packaging as oppose to plastic What is glass  Glass is made from sand, soda ...
Read More

Vinegar

Vinegar is great. You can use it for all kinds of things and is almost plastic free to buy. Vinegar is ...
Read More

Antiseptics & Disinfectants

This post talks about Microbes Antiseptics Disinfectants Alcohol Bicarbonate Of Soda Vinegar Hydrogen  peroxide Soap Essential oils This is an area ...
Read More

Bicarbonate Of Soda

This one product can replace hundreds of plastic bottles on your shelves. It does biodegrade. However there are issues about ...
Read More

Paper versus plastic versus reusables

So if I don't want to use plastic bags then would I suggest using paper as an alternative? Well actually ...
Read More

4 about the alternatives

More

See how to make all kinds of plastic-free food, clothes makeup and other stuff 

Other basic products that can help you live plastic free and information about them can be found here…. – useful to know tag.

 

 

 

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Oils, lotions & creams Index

Fats and oils are used to keep the skin supple and prevent moisture evaporation. Many oils and waxes can be used neat such as coconut oil.
Or they can be mixed with water as a cream or lotion.
They can be harvested from plants and animals.

The oils used in creams/balms are usually vegetable derived though I suppose you could use lard if you wished (!)

There are hundreds of vegetable oils. Different skins like different oils and you will have to experiment to find what is best for you.
You don’t need that many. I can make everything I need with….
coconut oil,cocoa butter,bees wax shea butter castor oil and a liquid oil such as rapseed, olive or almond.
You can read about the above in more detail here.

Using Them Neat
Do you really need to make a cream. Many oils and waxes can be used neat.For example I use
Coconut oil for moisturising, removing eye makeup, cleansing and massage:
Cocoa Butter or bees wax – instant lip balm, deep mousturising treatment for nails:
Shea Butter deep moisturising, barrier cream.

Combining Oils & Waxes
Sometimes a wax is just too hard and an oil too liquid. Oils and waxes can be combined to create a more usable product. Examples would be combining a hard wax like cocoa butter with a softer oil like coconut. these are my favourites:
Body Butter
Lip Balm

Cream & Lotions

But still there are times when oils are are just too… oily. In this case you need to dilute them using water. As Water and oil don’t mix you will also need to add an emulsifier. The end result is cream or lotion.
To make cream you will need the following
Fatty acids of your choice- oil, butters & waxes.
Water
Emulsifiers: Water and fat do not naturally mix, you need to use an emulsifier.
Preservatives
Pots to put your cream in.

Active Ingredients
The cream or oil can be used as a carrier medium for active ingredients such as…
Suntan Lotion– add Microfine Titanium Dioxide OR Zinc Oxide to make a suntan lotion
Self Tan– Add DHA to make a fake bake that really works .
Magic, age defying, cellulite busting potions- scour the internet for all the gubbins, the AHAs, enzymes and crushed pearls that are supposed to grant instant beauty and add them too. I can’t promise results, but it’s fun experimenting.

RECIPES

Here are some cream and lotion recipes

Containers
Once you have made your creams and balms you will need to store them. You can find a range of pots, bottles and closures here.

More

For the last 5 years now I have been I have been using home-made cream on face and body with no side effects. The plastic pots from the original kit have been reused a number of times. In fact they are still in use. They are great for traveling.

Buy 

Check here or visit individual posts for purchase details.

PLASTIC SPOILER
Some of the above will come plastic packaged. As I get huge amounts  out of one small bag of ingredients so I consider it a worthwhile compromise. It still represents a huge decrease in plastic consumption.

Making Other Personal Care Products Hairspray featured

Its quicker then  trying to choose between a hundred different shampoos and it’s really simple, fun to do, so much cheaper  and  I get to control what goes on my  body, where it comes from and what environmental impact it has.

Lots more info here on making your own personal care products

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Tea Bags

Whats in your tea bag? Paper and tea you wish but actually no.

Firstly is your bag made from paper? Are you sure? Because when you think about it if it really was made from paper why doesn’t it go all soggy when you submerge it in boiling water?

Plastic In The Bag
Well it could be because 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.”

Plastic Glue To Seal Them
Then there is the sealing. Wikipedia claims “Heat-sealed tea bag paper usually has a heat-sealable thermoplastic such as PVC or polypropylene as a component fiber on the inner tea bag surface.”

Chemical Treatment
OR that the paper has been treated with Epichlorohydrin to make it stronger
In the USA Epichlorohydrin is considered to be a potential carcinogen for purposes of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) hazard communication standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200.
European Statement from Dow Chemical:
“The substance should be regarded as if it is carcinogenic to man. There is sufficient evidence to provide a strong presumption that human exposure to the substance may result in the development of cancer.”
It is also used in epoxy resins, textiles, inks, dyes and rubber. Read more here.

Chlorine Bleaching
And those bags are so white because they have been bleached with chlorine.

All Plastic Bags
So much so you might feel almost relieved to know that some tea bags are actaully made from plastic. Those silky pyramids for posh tea may not be silk but synthetic fibres.

Or maybe not. This post claims that chemicals each from the plastic into your te.

Plastic Free Tea Bags

The technology is out there to make plastic free teabags that are not coated with Epichlorohydrin.
Teabags can be made from
PLA—polylactic acid, can be used to make silky bags.
manila hemp cellulose fibres can be used to make paper bags
You can get paper bags that have not been treated with epichlorohydrin that have been made from oxygen washed fibers with no polluting whiteners used.

For example these from Twinings Few things in life are as fresh and delicious tasting as loose leaf tea – or as simple and convenient as the teabag. The good news is, our pyramid shaped silk teabags let you enjoy the best of both worlds. We call them silky pyramids – althoughf the bag is in fact made from a manmade, biodegradable fabric. Looking through the prism-shaped mesh, you can see the beautiful whole dried leaves of tea or colourful buds, where they’ve got just the right amount of room to swirl about in the hot water and release their flavour.You can read more here.
Or Pukka herbs whose tea bag paper is made of a special blend of natural abaca (a type of banana) and plant cellulose fibres.

Sounds good right. Hold your horses… sadly plastic free tea bags doesn’t mean plastic free tea. TWinings pyramid envelopes are made from PET 12um / Polyethylene EVOH 60um which unfortunately is not recyclable. And pukka plastic free tea bags come in tea sachets (envelopes) that have a Polyethylene lamination.

Plastic Free Teabags (usually in plastic packaging)

Twinings silky teabags are made from PLA but come plastic packed
Tea Pig plastic free teabags but plastic in the packaging
Pukka herbs use natural abaca but teabag envelopes are plastic lined.
These I dont know about the packaging.
Tetley Black & Green tea uses Perflo paper bags, which are free of epichlorohydrin.
Numi Tea: manila hemp cellulose, and free of epichlorohydrin. The tags are made from 100%
recycled material and soy-based inks.
Rishi Tea: PLA silky bag
EDEN Organic: oxygen washed manila fibers sealed with 100% cotton string.
Organic Stash: 100% cellulose fibers
Two Leaves Organic Teas: biodegradable cornstarch based nylon,
Organic Tazo
Organic Traditional Medicinals: unbleached bags made from abacá ( Manila hemp)
Organic Yogi Teas: Manila hemp (abaca) fibers and wood pulp, oxygen bleached.
Thanks to Clean Plate for the following information. Visit their website for more.
NB while thenbags may be free from, the packaging may contain plastic.

So to conclude most teabags are rather nasty and contain chemicals and plastic.
Some teabags are compostable and chemical free but often the rest of the packaging contains plastic..

Tea Bags In Compostable Packaging

And yet in a strange twist of fate you can get conventional tea bags that contain plastic in compostable packaging.
Twinings pack their conventional teabags ( have a plastic content) in compostable packaging. Their Everyday teabag line in the UK comes in a cardboard box with no cellophane. Inside the bags are packed in sealed bags of Innovia’s Natureflex NM material. This is a shiny foil like “plastic” that is certified compostable. Read more here.
I have composted in my own compost bin.

Clipper teabags have dumped the cellophane though the teabags are still packed in plastic bags inside the box.

Really, its easier to make loose tea….

Loose Tea 

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.
You can find a list of tea and coffee merachants here.
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.

More

Find other sneaky plastics here….

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.

Milk

If you take milk, you will need to get yourself a milk man who delivers milk in glass bottles and possibly a milk jug!

Brewing Up

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.

Buy

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.

Kitchen Craft Stainless Steel Double Handled Tea Strainer- boxed Tea Ball Infuser 2" 18/8 Stainless Steel. Tea Ball/Strainer Mesh Tea Infuser Tea filter Reusable
Kitchen Craft Stainless Steel Double Handle…
£5.50
Tea Ball Infuser 2″ 18/8 Stainless Steel.
£0.71
Tea Ball/Strainer Mesh Tea Infuser Tea filt…
£1.52 – £2.19
Kitchen Craft Le'Xpress Tea Strainer, Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Spoon Tea Leaves Herb Mesh Ball Infuser Filter Squeeze Strainer 2 Cup Glass Tea Pot with Infuser
Kitchen Craft Le’Xpress Tea Strainer, Stai…
£1.65
Stainless Steel Spoon Tea Leaves Herb Mesh …
£1.60
2 Cup Glass Tea Pot with Infuser
£21.63
Glass Stainless Steel Loose Tea Leaf Teapot With Infuser 750ml/500ml --- Size:L VonShef Modern Stainless Steel 600ml Glass Infusion Tea Pot Loose Tea Leaf Coffee Infuser Sabichi 750 ml Glass Teapot with Infuser
Glass Stainless Steel Loose Tea Leaf Teapot… VonShef Modern Stainless Steel 600ml Glass …
£4.99
Sabichi 750 ml Glass Teapot with Infuser
VonShef Satin Polish Stainless Steel Tea Pot with Infuser. Available in sizes Small, Medium & Large Designer White Ceramic Tumbler Brewing System
VonShef Satin Polish Stainless Steel Tea Po…
£6.99
Designer White Ceramic Tumbler Brewing System
£15.00

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