Tea is the best morning partner of most of the folks out there. In fact, life seems quite lethargic without tea. Fair enough?
According to a survey, about 60 million cups of tea are being consumed every year and so are the tea bags. Tea bags have made our lives easier tremendously, especially when we are on-the-go as you can always enjoy an energetic cup of tea whenever you want. However, the plastic in these tea bags might be a petty thing to cross your mind. Tea bags look like small paper bags but they are not. Most of them contain polypropylene which is not decomposable and so they bring plenty of issues to your health as well as environment. That is why, it is significant enough to research over the brands which offer plastic free tea bags to keep you and your environment safe.
To make this challenge a bit easier for you, we made a thorough research and picked some best plastic-free teabags which are safe for your health and environment. Also, read out some implications of the plastic tea bags and also the benefits of the plastic-free tea bags in the next section to avoid significant health and environmental concerns.
Why Are Plastic Teabags Harmful??
Plastic teabags have very serious implications on your health as well as environment. They look like a petty small harmless bag but they actually are not. The tea bags use plastic in various ways. Sometimes, polypropylene polymer, most commonly plastic, is used to seal the teabags. However, some tea bags are wholly made up of plastic. Plastic Polymer is not biodegradable so it cannot be recycled. When you throw it away, the toxic material seeps into soil and water system. These toxins contaminate and pollute the environment causing different health issues.
Studies reveal that 1 tea bag releases 11.6 billion micro plastics in the environment which when adds up become hazardous for nature as well as human health. The micro plastics contain chemical additives which are responsible or serious health concerns like infertility, hormonal disorders, cancers and neurodevelopment disorders like ADHD and autism spectrum disorder etc. Moreover, the micro plastics in the environment attract pathogens which when enter in the human body increase risk of infections. So, it is important enough to buy plastic-free tea bags if you are a tea lover.
A Quick Buyer’s Guide to buy Plastic free Tea Bags
Buying plastic-free tea bags is challenging because there are a lot of brands using plastic to seal the bags or making wholly plastic-based bags. There are some which mislead consumers and claim that their teabags are free from plastic. However, there are very few brands which understand the concern and make plastic-free tea bags. So, it is quite difficult to find a truly plastic free teabag. Here are some significant factors you should consider if you are looking for a reasonable plastic-free tea brand.
Use Plant-based tea bags
You can always go or plant-based plastic teabags. Many of the brands are using plant-based material to make and seal tea bags which are a reasonable substitute to plastic derived from other sources. Plant-based material or bio-plastic is biodegradable and is made up of corn or other plants. It contains Polylactic Acid(PLA) which is not as harmful as polypropylene polymer. This material is non-toxic so it can be used in packaging of consumables.
Bio-Degradable Vs Composable
Some teabags are classed as biodegradable but it does not mean that they do not contain the plastic content. Some teabags contain certain type of plastic which is degradable in certain circumstances.
Best Plastic-free Teabags reviews
Market is saturated with a lot of brands claiming to make plastic-free teabags but finding a truly plastic-free brand is a challenging task. Read down the lines and discover the list of best plastic-free teabags to ease this challenge.
Abel & Cole
Abel and cole is the brand which specialize in organic products. All of their consumables are using biodegradable and compostable packaging including the teabags. The teabags are made with SoilOn which uses Polylactic acid(PLA).PLA is an organically transformed form of plastic originating from plants. PLA is not harmful as ordinary plastic polymer and it is compostable at industrial setup. Abel and Cole not only make teabags using corn-starch but also glue-free. The take care of the fact that glue while sealing the bags can also be harmful for the environment. The bags are sealed using heat. Moreover, the packaging these come in is also made up of paper and compostable PE so you can trust the brand confidently.
Teatulia is an organization that truly emphasize over social welfare. Their objective is to provide a healthy cup of tea to its people which is good for its people, and overall environment. The enterprise has achieved this goal by incorporating different environment-friendly strategies including making plastic-free teabags.
This social organization has employed thousands of women in Bangladesh who cultivate tea plants and pick tea when they are grown. The company offers reasonable salary packages and facilities to its employees as compared to other companies working in the same region. The tea they grow is pesticide-free and come in pyramid bags. These bags are made up of SoilOn which is truly compostable. Moreover, the bags are sealed with using glue.
Qi Tea is another eco-friendly brand which discourages the use of plastic in its products. The tea is wholly organic, made using flower extracts to heal your inner soul in busy and tiring days. The brand uses truly plastic-free teabags. The packaging is 100% compostable and use veggie ink so that the packaging may remain harmless to the environment. However, their wrappers are made using plastic. The company is working rigorously to find a reasonable substitute to avoid plastic.
Dilmah Tea company distributes tea in different type of packaging like tagless, string and tag, and luxury pyramid bags etc. However, they are seriously concerned about the plastic material being used over the years. They claim that all of their tagless teabags are free from plastics and a wholly biodegradable and compostable. They never use Nylon and other harmful plastic polymers like polyethylene terephthalate plastics (PET). Moreover, they are also transitioning the remainder of tagged teabags by using biodegradable PLA material. The company using custom teabags where sealing is required. These custom teabags can be sealed using very fine fibers of PET which are food-safe and do not leech into and contaminate the water with micro plastics. The PLA used in most of the teabags is derived from corn starch and is biodegradable in commercial composting facilities.
Tetley brings kinder tea by following their objective to bring wellness to it users, farmers and overall environment. The company closely and considerately working on its mission to provide plastic-free teabags to protect overall environment. Tetley claims that their teabags are 99% free from plastic. However, some of their teabags still use plastic. It is because they use little glue or plastic fiber to seal their bags tightly in order to provide fresh and tasteful cup of tea.
They are introducing new plastic-free bags in market with their numbers increasing every minute. The bags are completely biodegradable but not recyclable.
Lipton is another brand which is committed to planet’s wellness and avoid using plastic to its teabags to a great extent. They believe in minimizing the packaging so that the amount of harmful chemicals and micro-plastics may be reduced.
Lipton makes its quality black and intense tea bags using manila hemp and cellulose fiber. Their bags are truly plastic-free and compostable.
Clippers also claim to produce fully organic teas packaged in environmentally-safe teabags. For this they package the tea in non-bleach teabags because they believe that what really counts is the taste which is inside and not the color of the teabags. Moreover, they are avoiding harmful plastic polymers by using plant-based material which is fully-biodegradable. In addition, they are working on other green solution too which may reduce the waste streams and make the waste easily recyclable. They make pillow teabags using PLA while string & tag teabags are made up of paper and wood cellulose and organic cotton string. Their envelopes are also made up of recyclable paper.
Pukka Herbs is also striving for sustainable environment. Their teabags are free from plastic. The bags are not sealed but tied together with organic cotton strings which is completely recyclable and environment-friendly. The follows a unique way of packaging that does not involve use of plastic in any way. The pack the teabags by stitching or use a folding process to keep the tea airtight and fresh. Pukka herbs claim to be the first company who used organic cotton string to tie that teabags as a substitute to polypropylene.
Twinings make fully-biodegradable loose leaf pyramid tea bags however, some of the constituents in its packaging still have traces of plastic like its string and ta. Moreover, its sealing process also use plastic but they are working considerately to reduce plastic fully from their teabags. They are working on different green solutions and tend to make full recyclable and bio-degradable teabags or transition them to the PLA material.
Yorkshire Tea is making a rapid progress in transitioning their old-based packaged teabags to the plant-based material. What we really like about them is their honesty. They have made a fair presentation and disclosure of what they are doing and what is still the matter of concern for environment’s sustainability. You can always check their progress on their website and buy their bags confidently.
They are using PLA-based packaging now and seal the bags using metal staples. Their long-term aim is to make all of the packaging circular i.e. recyclable, plant-based and compostable.
Numi Organic Tea
Numi Tea has also introduced biodegradable and compostable plant-based tea wrappers which are eco-friendly. The wrappers are made from renewable sources reducing the waste and thereby contributing to planet’s wellness.
The eco-friendly packaging involves usage of certified paper lined with non-GMO PLA which is sourced from sugarcane and metalized eucalyptus. The material can be disintegrated and does not produce toxins when they break down.
Eteaket typically sells loose leaf tea. Their range of tea bags is very small. However, they serve tea is PLA-made bags. These tea bags come in easily compostable Nutraflex bags. You can conveniently decompose these bags in your home. Moreover, they also sell tea in cardboard caddies but if you have already bought a caddie then you can also buy tea in refills which are absolutely plastic free.
13. Hampstead Tea
Hampstead Tea is another brand which is focused on sustainability. They are proud of being the number one ethical brand in UK. They produce organic tea and distributes it in plastic-free fully compostable packaging. It is one of the pioneers who introduced plastic-free teabags. They make stitched teabags instead of commonly produced heat-sealed teabags to avoid plastic. Most of the brand’s product line is plastic free and they are working to make the rest plastic-free as well. Their packaging is compostable in home.
Neal’s Yard produces organic tea and make eco-friendly teabags. These products are FairWild certified which is an international standard for a sustainable use of ingredients. Neal’s yard produces teabags using PLA. This plant-based material is extracted from natural abaca. This plant belongs to banana family. Moreover, the bags are bleached with oxygen so this process is way better than chlorine bleaching which is harmful for environment. In addition, the teabags are home compostable so you can conveniently decompose them in your home.
Nemi is another brand making bio-degradable and fully recyclable teabags. It is a social enterprise which have a mission to maintain sustainable environment. They not only sell a high-quality tasteful tea but also work for the welfare of planet. They also provide employment to refugees. So that they may be able to enter UK and benefit the society as a whole. They make PLA-made teabags which are fully compostable. Moreover, they are Fair trade certified as well.
PG Tips is unilever’s brand and they switched to eco-friendly teabags when their consumers emphasized on going green as plasticized teabags are not only harmful for environment but also for human health. They estimate that their nine billion PG Tips teabags are consumed every year in UK so they take the concern seriously. They are looking for the solutions to make plastic-free teabags to avoid negative environmental impact. They have made rapid switching to bio-degradable teabags which save them tones of plastic every year. They claim to be the first black tea brand that has switched to eco-friendly teabags. Their teabags are made up of paper and they use to seal the bags using plant based material.
Frequently Asked Questions
What teabags are safe?
Watch for the teabags which are organic, plastic-free and compostable. They are safe and can be recycled to produce other products.
Are PLA teabags safe?
As per United States Consumer Products Safety Commission, the consumables deemed to be safe if they contain less than 1000 ppm of plasticizers. PLA complies with the requirement o USCPSC because it does not contain more than 1000 ppm plastic when tested. Use of PLA teabags is indeed a safer substitute to the conventional plastic teabags because it is biodegradable to a certain extent.
How do I know my tea bag is plastic?
You can always make a change or switch to other brand if you find out that the brand you are using use plastic in the teabags. Some companies make false claims so it is better to check reviews and research if you are concerned about your health and environment. Moreover, some tea bags are made up of nylon or a silky material which does not look like plastic. However, Nylon is also a type of plastic material which is as harmful as other plastic derivatives.
Are brands making the switch?
Today, many brands manufacture plasticized teabags because they are cheaper when produced on large scale. But unfortunately they have an adverse impact on human health as well as environment because the bags are not fully compostable or recyclable. Even the bags that are claimed to be industrially compostable are not really compostable so the brands are being challenged for environmental sustainability. To overcome this challenge, many brands are rapidly switching to produce plastic-free and compostable teabags. They are not only making teabags but also their tags and strings are made from plant-based plastic polymer which is environmentally-safe. Moreover, some brands are also using metal staples or organic cotton threads to stitch the bags so that they may remain airtight and provide a refreshing cuppa.
Want to start your day with an energetic cup of tea? Make sure you use plastic-free tea bags to avoid negative health implications. Choose any one of our best picks and share your reviews with us in the comments section below. Cheers.