Have you ever thought about how much waste you are creating when you drink your afternoon tea? This is, of course, assuming that you use a tea bag. Granted, a tea bag is a small thing – in fact, in terms of waste, it seems like it should be the least of your worries. Better worry-time can be spent on the waste of your daily newspaper or on excess packaging of food.
The thing is, though, even the little things count. People often overlook the little things, like tea bags, but in the end, all of those tea bags really add up to a lot of waste! Sure, your newspaper is bigger, but you very likely recycle it, right? Can you “recycle” a tea bag? No, but you can use it in your garden.
Environmentally Friendly Tea Bag Tips:
· Instead of tossing out old tea bags, why not put them in your compost bin? The nutrients in the tea are good additions to your future fertilizer, and most regular tea bags are biodegradable. They will add acidity to your compost.
· Look for tea bags without staples, or at least remove the staples before you place the bags in your compost bin.
· Look for unbleached tea bags.
· Check for tea bags that do not use wasteful strings or tags. The Republic of Tea makes environmentally-friendly unbleached tea bags without staples, tags, or strings.
· Choice Organic Tea use unbleached manila hemp and unbleached wood pulp for their tea bags. They also use 100 percent unbleached cotton string. Even the tea bag envelopes that Choice Organic Tea is packaged in is environmentally friendly.
· Make sure that your tea bags are made from natural fibers, like those made by the German compny Finum. These are better for the environment, and they will not add any “extra” flavor to your green tea or other teas…
· Recycle your tea bag envelopes.
· Consider using a tea diffuser. Many people prefer the taste of loose leaf tea over bagged tea, anyhow. And when you use a diffuser, you can know that no extra energy was wasted on manufacturing it – think of all the energy used to make the paper envelopes, bags, and box of a regular tea bag. And the best part is, a good tea diffuser will last a lifetime.
· If you do not want to buy a metal diffuser, you may appreciate a hemp tea bag. A hemp tea bag can be used over and over. There are also hemp coffee filters available that can be used multiple times, as well.
· Speaking of coffee – unbleached coffee filters and coffee grounds can be added to your compost pile, as well. Both filters and tea bags break down quickly.
· If you do not have a compost pile, add your tea and coffee grounds directly to the soil around flowers. Plants appreciate it.
In general, tea bags are much more wasteful than tea diffusers, but they do not have to be. The key is to give your used tea bags a second life in your garden. If you do not have a garden, never fear. There are many more uses for used tea bags that may interest you. Tea bags can do anything from tenderizing meat to stopping bleeding gums. They can be used to remove furniture polish, seed a lawn, treat shaving nicks, and more.
Again, though, the key to reducing waste starts with buying environmentally friendly tea bags in the first place. Then, add them to your compost or find another use for them.