Ireland is one of the biggest tea drinking nations on earth (per capita). We love our cupán tae. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that many teabags are made at least partly of plastic, and that plastic is ending up in our bodies. Add to that the fact that the discarded teabags go on to release micro-plastics wherever they end up and you have a big problem.
Luckily there are a few very easy solutions! Here is how to brew your next cup of totally Zero Waste tea.
Loose leaf tea
Take a step back in time and you’ll find the most wonderful array of tea stories, and all before plastic was ever invented! How did they do it? Loose leaf tea.
Loose leaf tea is exactly what it sounds like – tea leaves without the teabags. You can get every tea you can imagine without the plastic individual cover.
To make your Zero Waste cuppa, place the tea leaves into boiled water and steep as normal. Most loose leaf teas require about 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per person, or 2-3 per pot, but you can check the amount online or on the box. Then, all you need to do is strain the leaves out and enjoy!
There are a huge number of tea strainer options out there. You might even find some in antique shops or second hand stores! Strainers are fine sieve-like devices that you pour your brewed tea through to catch the bits and keep them out of your cup.
Reusable tea bags and balls
Another great option that may appeal more to those making a single cup is reusable tea bags and tea balls. These are things that you put your tea leaves in so that they won’t escape into your cup. You remove them just like a teabag when you are finished steeping, and empty them into the compost bin.
Loose leaf teapots
If you are a fan of full pots of tea, consider investing in a teapot with a strainer built in. They are lovely and designed to do excellent brewing while keeping your leaves together. These are sometimes a better option for folks with less delicate fingers too, as the tea leaf compartment is large and easy to clean.
Plastic-free, compostable teabags
If you are absolutely wedded to your single serves of tea in little bags, look for brands that offer 100% plastic-free teabags that are compostable. Once used, these can go into your compost or brown (organic waste) bin and they won’t cause issues for future generations.
With all of the wonderful plastic free and Zero Waste tea options out there it is easy to make the switch to a more sustainable sipping routine.
Pop into Dublin Food Co-op to see all of the delicious teas that we have available with no plastic, or very little. Choose from a selection of Irish foraged herbs to nettle, rooibos, green tea, hibiscus, and chamomile, plus a range of new and seasonal teas.
Bring your own container to buy your own loose teas, or use one of our pouches, to try them out for yourself. We have a range of Irish and international organic teas, as well as biodegradable tea bags if you prefer.