Plastic in teabags

This topic contains 14 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by offcuts offcuts 2 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #5872
    Tracy Cushing
    Tracy Cushing
    Participant

    Tea is a very welcome and important part of our pod sessions at Two Doors Studios (basically because we are chatting and laughing so much we get a bit hoarse 😂).

    I’d noticed at home that the teabags I put in the compost bin left behind a “skeleton” of mesh that didn’t break down like the rest of the waste – a bit like a leaf skeleton but nowhere near as pretty.

    I didn’t realise this was because plastic was added to the paper in the bag to help heat seal them during manufacture.

    Source : http://www.which.co.uk/news/2010/07/composting-teabags-218651/

    I don’t know how I didn’t click before and Apologies if this is old news to you guys (the Which report was from 2010).

    After spending all these years avoiding single use plastic carriers it looks like I’ll be switching back to loose leaf from now on – don’t want to contemplate “multi-use” on my tea bags 😂

    #5876
    masterclock
    masterclock
    Participant

    Interesting observation and news to me.

    I wonder if all bags are like that, and if not how you could spot the one which compost fully? Not a great tea drinker myself so I am rather short of data

    #5878
    beattie
    beattie
    Keymaster

    Thanks for an interesting read Scallywagbags. Have you tried Teapigs? They seem to be made of very plastic-y substance – it’s very springy. I had a look at their website which says
    “Our tea temples are made from biodegradable corn starch. The material was developed in Japan and has the green “pla” mark which is an endorsement by the Japanese bioplastics association.”
    Who’d have thought it?

    I put the few tea bags we use in the composter and have to confess that I haven’t noticed any “tea bag skeletons” in what I dig out. I guess if they did surface I’d pick them out of the flower bed and take them indoors to throw away. I have lots more plastic labels from plants that pegged out ages ago! (thanks to all the slugs, snails and rabbits!)

    #5881
    butterfly bags
    butterfly bags
    Participant

    I didn’t know that. It’s a bit worrying. Off to do some research to see if all teabags are the same.

    #5883
    Catherine Appleton
    Catherine Appleton
    Participant

    omg! this post made me go away and look this up cos I drink tea all day long – I didnt know this (why? why don’t people know this?!)

    I buy products in bulk when they’re on super special offer, so have enough teabags in stock for about 6 months! But after that will have to get my tea pot down, buy a tea leaf holder thing and start using loose leaf tea – what a faff! Here’s the article I found:

    Tea

    #5884
    Tracy Cushing
    Tracy Cushing
    Participant

    Reading around a bit it would seem that not all teabags are the same. As the Which article suggests, bags which are closed by stitching or a staple don’t tend to contain plastic.

    This article is focused on the plastic as a potential source of toxins rather than on the excess waste aspect but it contains a list of teabags that don’t contain plastic

    These Teas are Toxin-Free

    The clean plates article mentions other aspects of teabag production – eg making the teabag paper “white” by various methods which avoid bleach…..?!

    This all just adds further weight to my personal feeling that this is way too much – too much processing, too much packaging, and now too much time. I don’t want to have to spend this much time contemplating my teabag choice.

    We seem to be so good at making our lives complicated.
    I’ll use up whatever teabags I have (not as many as cath apple 😉) and then I’m going to get my teapot out of it’s retirement. It’s languishing there just doing nothing save looking rather attractive. I’m quite fond of it, it will make my tea drinking more of an event. I’m sure there’s a teastrainer taking up room in the drawer too.

    These items can be reused and reused, I feel happier about that.

    Long live the teapot!

    #5885
    Tracy Cushing
    Tracy Cushing
    Participant

    Beattie – I love the mint and liquorice tea pigs tea! A while ago I couldn’t get any locally so I made my own with dried mint leaves and liquorice root (I used a pencil sharpener to get small pieces of it to infuse – easier than any other method I could find).

    Not sure I can bring myself to call them “tea temples” though 😏

    #5890
    beattie
    beattie
    Keymaster
    #5891
    beattie
    beattie
    Keymaster

    I was hoping the second link would produce a picture – oh well!

    #5892
    offcuts
    offcuts
    Participant

    Well what I think is we live in a manufactured processed commercial world and everyone has different lines that they draw. There are so many baddies that cause harm to ourselves, the wildlife and the environment including cleaning products, packaging, carcinogenic toxins from plastic. It would be really difficult to avoid absolutely everything but we can only do our best. We tend to use loose tea or tea pigs because the taste is better. I don’t like the look of the tea in teabags – it looks like tea dust to me. I use tea infusers when just making one cup or my fav teapot has an infuser inside. (bought from the Tate St Ives Scallywagbags!) Then I put the leaves straight on the flower bed or pots.

    IMG_1892

    #5899
    Agwen
    Agwen
    Participant

    Gosh, this is news to me. Thank you for bringing it to my attention scallywagbags.
    A suggestion, until those of us who have a lot of teabags in stock (like us) get tea pots and loose tea sorted out, break open the used tea bag and dispose of the paper/plastic separately. A bit of a fiddle I know and this wont get rid of plastic but at least it won’t be going into our garden compost.

    #5908
    offcuts
    offcuts
    Participant

    Good idea Agwen. Maybe we could come up with a craft use for the bags? Teabag patchwork?

    #5911
    Tracy Cushing
    Tracy Cushing
    Participant

    I agree Offcuts – there is so much all around us it can be overwhelming the number of decisions there are to make about our consumption. That’s why I’m quite pleased to be able to simplify one aspect of it.
    That is a nice teapot – I just had a little look on the Tate website for our summer hols. It looks like Tate St Ives will be closed until next year but I think the gift shop is open in a temporary location. In the meantime I popped into a beach of Whittards yesterday in search of a spoon like Beattie’s granny used.
    They had several options for single cup infusion – I bought one for me to use at work. They also had some very similar teapots to the one Offcuts showed us. Managed to resist those as I already have an underused teapot, very tempting though.

    Only went in for some loose leaf tea 😂 (Of which they have plenty)

    Enjoy your brews – whichever format they come in x

    #5912
    Tracy Cushing
    Tracy Cushing
    Participant

    Teabag patchwork: offcuts and anwen – have you seen Jennifer Collier’s work? She uses a lot of recycled items including teabags which she opens, entraps small items inside and then stitches back together to make dresses, gloves etc
    http://dolcevitamamma.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/art-of-paper-fabrics-by-jennifer.html?m=1
    Amazing to look at URL, I think she used to do workshops too

    #5918
    offcuts
    offcuts
    Participant

    Yes I have heard of her. Amazing work. I think she is friends with a textile artist friend of mine, Ruth Singer.

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