As more people are becoming environmentally conscious and embracing composting as an effective alternative to disposing of waste in landfills, questions that were previously overlooked are now being brought to the limelight.
One of these is the idea of composting tea bags. Several gardeners have sworn that they have found remnants of tea bags lying in their compost even after a year. A lot of people are unsure about the use of the term ‘paper bag’ and its compostability. Why do some brands refer to the bag as compostable even when it’s not? Is it all a lie, or can you compost tea bags?
Yes, tea bags can be composted, but there is a caveat – it will depend mainly on the brand you are using. Most tea bags that are heat-sealed contain plastic fibers. This fiber is made of polyethylene and polypropylene. Sometimes, they are made from a blend of these two materials. These materials are not biodegradable and will not rot or break down completely when added to your compost pile.
So what brand can and can’t be composted. To find out what brand makes plastic-free tea bags read on!
Are tea bags biodegradable?
Teabags, as with every other thing, are biodegradable. Plastic is biodegradable, leather will break down at some point, wax isn’t excluded from the list of biodegradable things, but how long will all of these things take to break down completely? Years and Years.
Teabags, especially those that are heat-sealed, contain a certain amount of plastic. People who have added these types of plastic bags to their compost have reportedly found some remnants lying within the finished compost after a year. This shows that heat-sealed tea bags may take longer than expected, maybe as long as regular plastic to break down completely. But will they certainly break down? Yes, tea bags will break down.
Can you compost tea bags?
Yes, you can compost tea bags – but it depends on the material used.
Although some brands have switched to plastic-free tea bags, made from environmentally friendly materials like vegetable-based pulp, cotton, and silk, a number of leading brands, especially those with heat-sealed edges, still make use of synthetic fibers. All heat-sealed tea bags contain a number of plastic fibers. These plastic fibers are either polyethylene, polypropylene, or a blend of the two. They are melted to create the heat seal used to close the bag and prevent the contents from falling out when steeped in hot water.
This plastic is not biodegradable or recyclable and can lead to a number of health issues. When added to the compost, these tea bags will either break down and leave tiny white sacks in your compost or not rot at all.
Plastic-free tea bags, on the other hand, are biodegradable and compostable. When composting plastic-free tea bags, throw directly into the compost pile. Although it may take longer than required, the tea bag will eventually decompose. If you aren’t certain about adding it to your pile, put it into the food waste bin provided by your local council. Your city’s industrial composting facility will take care of that.
How do I compost tea bags?
Because some tea bags may take very long to compost, you could consider composting the tea leaves instead. Unlike tea bags, loose tea leaves will break down quickly. Make sure you dump it at the center of your compost. Next, stir them into the heap and ensure it does not get blown around.
If you are composting plastic-free tea bags, add the steeped cooled tea bag into your compost area. You can also put the tea bags around the root of plants. This will help retain moisture and nourish the plant as the bag breaks down.
Tea leaves offer numerous benefits to your compost. For one, they are a great source of nitrogen and will moisten your compost pile, while encouraging speedy decomposition.
List of Tea Bag brands which you can compost
Teapigs offer a range of teas that are compostable. Their tea is packaged in plastic-free mesh bags. The mesh bags are made from cornstarch and are designed in a way that ensures it does not tear apart when steeped in hot liquid. Although they are compostable, they may take a while to break down completely.
Good and Proper
Although a number of their tea are loose-leaf, Good and Proper, have other blends that have packaged in tea bags. These blends are 100% plastic-free. They are made from soilon, a bio-material derived from cornstarch. What’s more, their tea bags are fully compostable and biodegradable.
The Australian tea brand offers customers organic tea packaged in pyramid tea bags made from corn fiber. Like the brands listed above, they are compostable, biodegradable, and 100% plastic-free.
Like Tielka, this Australian tea brand also offers organic tea in unbleached and plastic-free tea-bags. What’s more? They are super affordable!
This brand also offers a range of tea in teabags that are 100% compostable. Their tea pyramids, which are made from GM-free sugar starch, are 100 percent plastic-free.
Clipper Organic Everyday Tea
This tea-brand offers organic tea packaged in tea bags that are made from a plant-based, fully biodegradable biomaterial. Each bag is ethically sourced, unbleached, and made from abaca plants. They are also compostable.
Pukka Herbs offers tea packaged in tea bags that are 100% plastic-free and biodegradable. Their teabags do not contain polypropylene; instead, they are tied together with organic cotton that is fully compostable.
List of Tea bag brands which you cannot (CURRENTLY) compost
Now that you know the brand that offers tea in compostable tea bags, it’s time for you to know the brands whose tea bags must not go into your compost pile. They are;
- Celestial Seasonings
- Teavana (Starbucks)
- Mighty Leaf Teas (now’s owned by Peet’s)
How do I know if my tea brand makes compostable tea bags?
If the brand of tea you currently drink isn’t listed above, you can reach out to them and inquire about the chemicals, materials, and processes used to manufacture the tea bags and the string. Most brands will reply within the space of 12 hours. If they use plastic bags, take it a step further by explaining why they need to make a switch and how it matters to you.
Top 9 amazing BENEFITS of drinking Tea
Drinking tea can improve insulin sensitivity
Research has shown that tea could protect pancreatic cells from damage, reduce complications from diabetes, decrease inflammation, prevent early death, and improve insulin sensitivity.
Tea can prevent toothache
Because tea is an excellent source of fluoride, drinking it regularly will strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the risk of tooth decay. The antioxidants contained within have been known to fight against gum disease and bacteria.
Lower the risk of cancer
Research has shown that drinking about 5 cups of tea daily can seriously reduce the risk of getting cancer. What’s more? Reports also indicated that cases of mouth, prostate, and breast cancer were much lower among those who drank tea regularly.
Drinking tea will help you shed weight
One of the incredible benefits of drinking tea is that it can help you shed some of that weight you don’t want. Research has shown that drinking green tea regularly will speed up the burning of those extra calories and leave you looking fitter. By increasing metabolism, green tea can help you burn up to 70 to 80 additional calories.
Tea lowers the risk of heart disease
Another great benefit of drinking tea is its ability to lower the risk and slow down the onset of heart disease. Tea contains antioxidants that will improve the flow of blood around the body, reduce the risk of clots, and slow down the risk of heart disease.
Strengthen memory power
Drinking tea regularly will help to boost memory cells in the brain. Studies have shown that green tea could protect against the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and even dementia.
Tea helps hydrate the body
Well, tea is H20 mixed with rich flavor. Yes, I said that. Drinking tea will rehydrate your body after a long day at work and leave you feeling energized. Although tea was thought to promote dehydration by causing the body to lose fluid, research suggests otherwise. Drinking up to six cups of tea daily is just as hydrating as drinking the same amount of water.
Tea will help protect your bones.
No, it isn’t just the milk that builds strong bones. A study has found that people who drank tea for ten years and above have stronger bones than people who do not drink tea. The study, which took into cognizance body weight, age, smoking, exercises, and other factors, attributes this discovery to the many beneficial qualities of tea.
It can help improve focus
Studies have shown that black tea could help improve focus, accuracy, and alertness. Owing to caffeine and L-theanine present in tea, alpha activity in the brain will improve. In turn, alertness, energy, and focus will also increase.
Coming from the United Kingdom, I grew up drinking tea and still love drinking tea to this day! If you want any advice on how to make how perfect brew, send me a message and I’ll give my tips. Make sure you’re COMPOSTING the correct tea bag! its east to just put them all in but you really don’t want to get it wrong. Happy composting!