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Microplastics in Teabags? Your Guide to Sustainable Tea Brewing

Teabag on wood

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

A recent study found that plastic tea bags release billions of microplastic particles into your drink; a thousand times more than in any other food or beverage.

In fact, most teabags, even ones made of paper, contain a plastic polymer, polypropylene, so that they can be fully sealed and retain their shape when soaked in liquid. Because of this, plastic teabags don’t actually decompose, instead only adding to our current plastic waste crisis.

What does this mean for you?

As we’ve said, the plastic doesn’t just go in the environment. It also leaches into your drink, and consequently, your body. At the moment, there is still too little research done on the subject, which is why nobody can say for sure if microplastics can harm you. The studies that have been done, however, do suggest that exposure to microplastics may lead to various health problems in humans.

Polypropylene itself can cause disruptions in the endocrine system. Common chemicals like Bisphenol A (BPA) and pthalates that are added during the manufacturing process have been cited to cause hormonal disruption, birth defects and sometimes cancer in humans. According to this article, microplastics have also been shown to damage and/or kill cells in large enough amounts. When small enough, it is even possible for particles to enter the bloodstream.

Right now, nobody knows for sure the extent to which microplastics can affect our body. But do you really want to wait to find out the hard way?

What You Can Do

Fortunately, there are a lot of easy changes you can make to avoid consuming microplastics from teabags while still enjoying your regular drink.

Non-Plastic Teabags

 Green eco teabags

Image by jan mesaros from Pixabay 

The first and easiest tip is to switch from plastic teabags to ones that are made from organic and biodegradable materials. Several eco-friendly tea brands such as Numi and Clipper Tea provide teabags made of natural materials that are just as functional as their plastic counterparts. This is great if you prefer brewing your tea with the typical string-and-tag.

Loose-leaf Tea

Whole leaf or loose leaf tea

Image by Iva Balk from Pixabay 

The other option is to brew loose-leaf tea. Loose-leaf tea is simply tea that is brewed by steeping whole tea leaves. Loose-leaf tea is arguably more flavorful and richer in nutrients than tea brewed with teabags because they haven’t been ground and processed.

Loose-leaf tea may seem like a lot of trouble, and it can be, but with the proper know-how, it doesn’t have to be. The most common method of brewing this type of tea is by pouring boiled water into a mug of whole tea leaves and letting them infuse. If you don’t want to deal with tea leaves floating in your drink you can also opt to use a reusable stainless-steel strainer to strain the leaves.

And if you like your tea on the go? Another convenient way to brew loose-leaf tea is with a tea infuser. You only need to steep your tea in the infuser for 3-5 minutes to get a healthy, plastic-free dose of hot tea. Our stainless steel black fruit tumbler has a built-in infuser for you to brew hot, loose-leaf tea (and keep it hot!) wherever you go.

A Final Word

Protecting the environment and having what you want don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, you can do both in a variety of ways that don’t involve you bending over backwards!

Hopefully after reading this article you can now enjoy the many benefits of drinking tea without the dangers of plastic ruining it for you.