According to the UK Tea and Infusions Association we drink 60.2 billion cups of tea each year, with most tea drinkers being fans of tea bags over loose leaf. Over this past year plastic in tea bags has become big news with it coming to light that most popular tea bags contain plastic, with either the bags themselves being made from plastic or a plastic glue being used to seal paper bags.
New research has recently been released on the amount of microplastics released by plastic tea bags. In a study conducted by a Canadian team at McGill University, they found that steeping a plastic tea bag at a brewing temperature of 95°C releases around 11.6 billion microplastics into a single cup. That’s a lot! As Nathalie Tufenkji, one of the researchers on the study explains “Table salt, which has a relatively high microplastic content, has been reported to contain approximately 0.005 micrograms plastic per gram of salt. A cup of tea contains thousands of times greater mass of plastic, at 16 micrograms per cup.”
While its yet to be confirmed if microplastics in our diet are harmful we’d rather try to avoid them wherever we can which is why we stock a range of loose leaf teas and well as Westcountry Tea Co’s completely plastic free English Breakfast tea bags. These teabags contain absolutely no plastic, made out of corn starch with no plastic sealing agent, its completely suitable for home composting after use.
There’s also an additional benefit of working with a company based here in Cornwall as we can avoid all packaging by picking up our orders directly using reusable containers, so absolutely no excess single-use packaging is used!