Drinking Tea in a Greener Way
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We all love our daily cups of tea. Well, many of us do. But what we may not realize is that many of those cups of tea may not be all that good for the environment.
And it isn’t just because tea cultivation may be done in environmentally harmful ways. Tea bags themselves may be the problem. In Britain alone some 160 million cups of tea are consumed every day, amounting to a staggering 58.4 billion cups a year.
And 96% of all that tea comes from bags that are heavy in plastic wrappings. This means that simply by drinking tea regularly people contribute to the already appalling levels of plastic waste around the planet. Worse: Conventional tea bags contain anywhere between 10% and 25% plastic because of sealants that are most commonly in use. And many of these sealants are non-biodegradable.
“Many tea drinkers are blissfully unaware that the teabag from their daily cuppa is sealed using plastic,” Jo Whitfield, a food company chief executive, was quoted as saying. “Even though it’s a relatively small amount, when you consider the 6bn cups of tea that are brewed up every year in the UK, we are looking at around 150 tonnes of polypropylene – that’s an enormous amount of accumulated plastic waste that is either contaminating food waste compost collections or simply going to landfill.”
So what’s the solution? It’s loose-leaf tea and other greener options like Japanese-style “pyramids” that are made of 100% compostable corn starch, according to environmentalists.
On the downside, these options tend to be more expensive. That said, helping save the environment in whatever small ways we can is surely worth that extra cost.