“Where are the tea bags?” or “I’d like to try your teas but what if I don’t make it the right way.” is heard at our market booth almost every week. The reasons are many and lie in our culture and the marketing of tea…. Most Americans (myself included) have been raised drinking tea made from little bags of tea, over-steeped and served with heavy doses of cream and sugar to cover the bitterness of bad tea. Packaged in bright yellow boxes and standing in tidy little rows with pretty little paper wrappers and tags, our tea waited for us. For many of us this was (and is) TEA.
Convenience, cost, and brilliant marketing led us down this sad path of drinking poor quality tea—or ‘dust’….
But who hasn’t bought a certain brand of tea just for cute teddy bears on the box, free mugs or those cute little porcelain figurines of whales, hats, ect?
Ahem… you’re not alone…one of these boxes also sits in my kitchen cupboard! I know… I KNOW… I can hear you GASP in dismay!! (Sorry, friends but I just couldn’t resist that little tea chest hidden in the box! And I just love the lemur on the other box of what my family calls ‘contraband’)….
I can hear you… what does this have to do with tea bags and why am I rambling about them? It’s just a little tea bag after all you say… NOT SO FAST!
Did you know that one large tea corporation can produce 3-4 MILLION tea bags in ONE DAY?!? Yes.. in 1 DAY! That’s near 2 BILLION by 1 COMPANY A YEAR!!! Why so many? One clue is offered by the Tea Association of the United States which estimates that Americans are increasing their tea consumption to over 84 BILLION SERVINGS of tea per year and nearly 96% in tea bags! That’s a lot of tea bags in our landfills !!!
The most popular tea bag style is the Pyramid bag. This nifty little bag is touted as ‘silky infusers’ that will improve the infusion of your tea. Well, guess what my friends… unless the box reads 100% cornstarch or other natural biodegradable material… these and many other popular tea bags are PLASTIC! Yes plastic!! Polypropylene and other yucky stuff that doesn’t biodegrade or belong in your tea cup!
As you see tea bags are terribly bad for our environment ! They do not compost and the majority contain… well I’ll say it once again… PLASTICS! So horrible are these bags that there is even a consumer-led campaign against plastic in tea bags in Britain!