The area of my life I’ve been fixing up the most is my herbal tea habit. I have a travel mug of lemon and ginger tea on my drive to work, and occasionally a chamomile tea at work. But it bothered me to think that for about 261 days a year I’m using a single use tea bag (don’t have tea as much on the weekend, but that number could easily increase for days I’m sick).
Things have actually been bothering me environmentally a lot lately because I feel like I’m not doing enough until I scrolled through my Instagram story history and discovered I have been – little bits every day – which I will share in future blog posts.
I originally bought boxes of tea bags from Woolworths and I’m not entirely sure those brands can be composted. I haven’t researched it, because, to be honest, if I can reduce my waste as much as possible I will. Even if it can be recycled and composted, if there is an easy option to waste less than I will.
Luckily with tea there is: loose leaf and a strainer!
I used to get loose leaf tea from T2, but they use plastic wrap on the inside and I really wanted to find a company who didn’t.
From a website called Flora and Fauna, I found a brand called Love Tea which package in cardboard, use plant based ink and although you can probably see the shiny plastic in the photo, it’s plant based cello. Which is slightly disappointed because I don’t think I could put it in the FOGO without the hand sorters taking it out because it looks like plastic. It can be composted with the right heat and conditions etc. (like anything) but I don’t think I’ll be able to do that unless I have my own composting system one day.
However it is a step in the right direction and still better than T2 who use the waxy cardboard and I assume non-biodegradable plastic wrap (there isn’t information available on their website). And I do understand that short of having a glass/tin system which could keep things fresh but then have the container refilled, there’s not much I could do the avoid plastic in some form with something like tea.
But hopefully by supporting retailers who use a plant based plastic, will help to make it the “norm” and thus also normalise the methods to compost them and make it readily available for everyone.
The strainer my Grandma gave me is cooler than most ball and chain ones, because those don’t hold together as strong and tea leaves fall out. But this one is tensioned together and nothing gets out of this sucker (unless it’s smaller than the strainer holes, but they’re pretty small!).
I was going to use it at work and use the T2 infuser (pictured above with light blue top and base), but I find it annoying to use every morning when I’m running out the door.
I’m going to buy another of the spring handled strainers to use at work and I purchased the chamomile tea to use at work as well! I hope also to invest in another tin for holding the tea at work which will help to keep fresh. I have a section on my desk behind my phone which has nothing on it therefore I think I’ll make it my little tea spot!
You could also purchase a teapot with a strainer in built from T2, and the great thing about company’s like Flora and Fauna, is that all their packaging is compostable or recyclable!
Lastly, I use a travel mug to transport the tea I drink in the morning with me on the way to work. My boyfriend bought it for me from Woolworths as it’s Harry Potter themed, however it’s getting old and cracked now (despite it not being that old at all!), so I’ll be looking at investing in a smaller one.
McDonald’s have their keep cups which are awesome (reusable, highly durable plastic)! I think you might get a discount for reusing the cups, but I think I might pick another brand – will have to do some research when the time comes!
Edit 22/04/2019 – My sister suggested a worm farm which can break down certain tea bags (see comments below). My mum also dries tea bags, dips them in kerosene, dries them again and repurposes them as fire lighters! A cheap alternative that is also great for the environment! I have also began to dry any tea bags I use or visitors have used to make my own fire lighters.
What are you go-tos with sustainable tea/coffee equipment? 🙂