Make Brewing Tea More Sustainable
Whether you’re a tea-obsessed avid tea drinker or simply enjoy the occasional cuppa tea in the afternoon – if you drink tea and happen to also want to prioritize living a more sustainable lifestyle this year, then your favorite beverage is a great place to start making an environmentally positive change.
There is nothing better when you want to unwind, relax, or just healthily indulge than a cup of hot tea. However, those wonderful tea vibes are crushed when you realize that your cup of zen could be significantly participating in harming our planet and filled with millions of particles of microplastic.
You see, many people believe that tea is a more eco-friendly solution to other beverages, such as coffee. But in fact, the process of brewing and the production of tea herbs and coffee grounds carbon footprint is about the same.
Think about all that energy required to boil the water for your brew, to grow the herbs, manufacture, and to ship it to you or the grocery store you buy your tea from in the first place. Then there is the waste produced from all this, and as we mentioned, those nasty ol’ microplastics.
Research has found that plastic tea bags can shed billions of microplastics into your cup of tea. With all the new information shedding light on the harmful effects that microplastics have on our bodies and our planet, it’s important that we take the steps to keep them out of our environment and lives.
Brewing Tea with Zero Waste and NO Plastic?
Although tea is seen as a prominent feature of British culture and society, it’s actually the second most widely consumed beverage in the world. There has also been a rise in the popularity of tea, with the drink being present in almost 80% of all U.S. Households. Sadly, the increase in demand has led to hyper-commercialization, filling the tea industry with more and more unsustainable products. That’s why it’s so important that we start making smarter choices for our daily brew.
Of course, brewing a fully 100% zero waste and net-zero footprint cuppa tea might be impossible, but there are tea companies committed to sustainable business and methods that can make our cup of tea a more sustainable and ethical choice: reducing waste, promoting better treatment of farmers, and cutting your carbon footprint.
To make it easier for you to do just this without scouring the web for hours, we’ve researched and gathered all the information you to know about sustainable tea to make your daily cup more eco-friendly. Your efforts, no matter how small they may seem, really matter!
1. Use A Reusable Travel Cup
A seemingly simple yet crucial step. Cut the paper and plastic cups - go reusable!
It is estimated that over 500 billion plastic disposable cups are used every year and according to the Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund: “by replacing one disposable cup a day for one year with a reusable mug you’ll be able to prevent: 23 lbs. greenhouse gas emissions, 281 gallons water usage, 16 lbs. of solid waste, 1 tree from being chopped down, and Save $91.” Considering plastic cups take about 500 years to disintegrate, we’ll also be helping in the prevention of a long-lasting mess. So, such a small change can make a highly effective difference!
You can use any random travel mug for your dedicated reusable tea mug, or we recommended buying a travel tea infuser mug because the built-in tea steeper will be useful for freshly brewing your tea with a secure lid. Plus, tea travel mugs are designed for pure and clean tea flavor, while your basic coffee travel mug tends to be designed to take on the flavor of coffee over time.
2. Loose Leaf or Compostable Tea Bags
Choosing to drink loose-leaf tea is significantly better for the environment than your regular tea bag. A large portion of tea bags are made with plastic fabrics and many paper fibers are only 70-80% biodegradable, with the rest of the teabag being made up of heat-resistant nylon or polyethylene terephthalate (plastics basically). This plastic can be a part of either the attached string or the bag itself.
When only the paper fiber element breaks down, it leaves 20-30% of miniature pieces of plastic behind.
For a more sustainable solution, you should try loose leaf tea. Contrary to popular belief, loose leaf tea is no more complicated than its bagged counterpart. Plus, it offers its own benefits and a taste experience that tea lovers and first-timers alike can enjoy.
Loose leaf tea is tea herbs that don’t come prepackaged, unlike bagged teas. Loose-leaf tea is brewed by placing the tea leaves in hot water using a tea ball or strainer. This type of tea is generally packaged in tins, tea chests, paper bags, and glass jars. As an extra perk, loose-leaf tea is fresher and more flavorful.
If you want to learn more about loose-leaf tea, then check out our Beginner’s Guide To Loose Leaf Tea.
Another great sustainable option that tea can offer is tea herbs and blends in biodegradable tea bags. On average, most biodegradable plastics take three to six months to decompose. That is much faster than their regular synthetic counterparts that use plastics like polypropylene that can take over several hundred years to fully degrade.
Here at Wise Ape tea, we offer incredible sustainable loose-leaf and biodegradable tea-bagged teas that are packed full of organic, all-natural herbs and adaptogens.
3. Electric Kettle
Electric kettles are indispensable and irreplaceable kitchen friends. They are energy-efficient and heat water faster than a stovetop kettle. When boiling water in a stovetop kettle most of the energy is lost in the process of heating the air around the stove and typically takes a while to heat, resulting in notable energy loss.
The full immersion of an insulated electric kettle transfers heat into the water very efficiently and helps prevent the loss of heat.
When you choose to start brewing tea that comes in compostable and biodegradable teabags or that is loose leaf, start composting the steeped tea bags or tea herbs. Simply empty the contents of your steeper or toss the compostable leaves into your composter, and voila. The composted tea will act as a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden or potted plants.
5. Choose an Ethical Brand
While there are some seriously significant struggles within the tea industry, including laborer rights, unethical practices, environmental destruction, etc., there are some amazing tea brands leading the way for sustainability and fair workers’ rights.
To ensure your brew contributes positively to the earth and to workers around the world, choose tea brands that are organic, Fairtrade, or that have a mission to support local farmers.
6. Be Conscious When Filling Your Kettle
To cut down on electricity wastage from boiling too much water, only heat a little more water than you need to fill your cup. This is not only more energy efficient but will also prevent water wastage.
We Love Sustainability Tea Brewing!
Here at Wise Ape, we take protecting our planet seriously. We prioritize sustainable practices including creating a loose-leaf option, using biodegradable tea bags, sourcing premium ingredients from the earth, without harmful pesticides or chemicals, and continuously finding new ways to improve.
But whether you’re a Wise Ape tea drinker or not, you can still make smarter sustainable choices when drinking tea! By following these easy yet effective tips you can finally start enjoying the relaxation of sipping a cuppa tea that is ethical and sustainable!
This informative article is written, by Sophia McKenzie. Sophia is head content creator and writer, for several premium websites, where her expertise lies in health, nutrition, and wellness. Her content focuses on providing and sharing doable solutions to help people truly thrive and live their happiest, healthiest, fulfilled lives.