10 Brands of Tea That Are Plastic-Free
Are you a tea drinker? Most mainstream teabags contain plastic that can leach into your tea water. We found 10 brands of tea that use plastic-free teabags, so you can sip a steaming mug of tea without a dose of microplastics – it’s better for the environment too!
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Part of my morning routine includes a steaming mug of green tea. Sometimes I use loose leaf tea, but I mostly use teabags out of convenience. When I came across a news release on plastic in tea, I was shocked to learn that one mug of tea can contain billions of microplastic and nanoplastic particles.
Researchers at McGill University in Canada removed tea from 4 traditional teabags and steeped the teabag envelopes in hot water. After steeping and removing the teabag envelopes, the hot water was measured for plastic particles. The plastic levels were in the billions, which is thousands of times higher than plastic levels found in conventional table salt (1).
Getting Technical About Plastic In Teabags
A traditional teabag made with plastic usually contains polypropylene, which is an oil-based plastic that uses non-renewable fossil fuels. This type of plastic will not biodegrade (at least not in our lifetime).
Most plastic-free tea bags are made from soilon, a by-product of cornstarch that is biodegradable and can be composted in an industrial compost facility. This type of material is considered a bio-plastic. In this post I refer to teabags that are plastic-free – they do not contain oil-based plastic, but rather a plant-based bio-plastic that can technically biodegrade and can be composted at an industrial composting facility.
Some tea companies use a by-product of sugar starch or abaca plants (a species of banana plant) to form the teabag. These materials will compost slowly, but will eventually break down.
What are the benefits of using a plant-based material (a bio-plastic) for teabags? The material is harvested from a renewable resource (whereas oil-based plastic comes from a non-renewable resource), the teabags are fully biodegradable, the teabags can be composted at an industrial compost facility, and there are no toxic fumes produced if the teabag is incinerated.
Crimped-edge teabags that do not contain plastic are sealed using ultrasound, so no polypropylene is needed.
Traditional Medicinals Tea
- The Teabags: The compostable, non-GMO tea bags are made from sustainably harvested abacá (Musa textilis), also known as manila hemp, and FSC-certified wood pulp. The tea bags are naturally gluten-free and do not contain plastics.
- The Wrappers: The tea bag wrappers contain a thin plastic lining and should be disposed of in the trash.
- The Tea: Non-GMO, and the vast majority of ingredients are organic.
- From the Traditional Medicinals website: Traditional Medicinals is an independent company that embraces sustainability, ingredient purity, and social and environmental activism. A Certified B Corporation and California Certified Green Business, we’re the leading seller of wellness tea in the U.S. and the pioneer of the wellness tea category in the U.S. and Canada.
- Shop: Traditional Medicinals Tea