The Truth About Tea Bags

The Truth About Tea Bags Waste Free World

Your tea is brewed. You've enjoyed it with a choc-ship cookie....as well as some microplastics and nanoplastics! 

Hang on - WHAT!! 

I was as surprised as you are - apparently most teabags contain up to 25% plastic. 

Canadian researchers published a study in 2019 titled "Plastic Teabags Release Billions of Microparticles and Nanoparticles into Tea". Their study found that steeping a single plastic tea bag at brewing temperature releases about 11.6 billion minuscule particles known as "mircoplastics" and 3.1 billion "nanoplastics" into each cup. 

Which is apparently a lot when compared to other foods. Nathalie Tufenkji of McGill University in Quebec told The New Scientist. "Table salt, which has a relatively high microplastic content, has been reported to contain approximately 0.005 micrograms plastic per gram salt. A cup of tea contains thousands of times greater mass of plastic, at 16 micrograms per cup."

So why is plastic in teabags? Glad you asked!

For teabags to seal up and keep their shape in your hot pot or cup of liquid, a plastic polymer (polypropylene) must be added....which leeches into your tea at the brewing temperature. 

Not only is this probably not good for you - it is also not great for our environment because these teabags cannot completely decompose. Which I was devastated to learn as we had been throwing our teabags in the compost for a while!

Composting Tea Bags Waste Free World
Image by Simply Ecology

So where to from here? 

Some teabag manufacturers are on the path to a more eco-friendly alternative, however, it is a long expensive road for them. 

We have made the switch to loose leaf tea - and found it is actually more flavoursome (apparently because the tea leaves haven't been ground to dust to fit in a tiny plastic teabag). 

In Australia, you can check out Green Wattle Tea and Heart Therapeutics

Where do you get your loose leaf tea from?

Are you shocked there is plastic in teabags?

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