Food

Is Your Tea Bag Made with Plastic?

Silky pyramids, plastic sealed bags, and what brands are actually fully compostable

Whether you like to pretend you are British all the time, or just have a cold, chances are you are making that cup of tea with a conveniently packaged tea bag. While tea bags are great (and basically everywhere) there's something you should know about that innocent tea bag. Many of them use plastic to keep them sealed shut. Nope, not just on the wrapper the tea bag actually comes in, but the bag itself. The idea of a plastic soaking in boiling hot water just does not sound cozy to us. But thankfully, there are some easy changes you can make if you feel the same way we do.


Now, this isn't true of all brands of tea bags. Many popular brands in the UK (like PG Tips and Yorkshire) are working on eliminating the plastic and should have plastic completely out of their tea bags in 2019. But while some brands are making a change, not all companies are as transparent.

One type of tea bag to be cautious about are the ones that look like silky pyramids. While they may seem fancy (and often come with a higher price tag), that material is often nylon, which is also a form of plastic. So, if you are worried about the plastic in your tea bags, it's worth doing some investigating or considering making a change.

Some changes you can make are to:


1. Switch to a brand of tea you know isn't using plastic in their tea bags.

Try looking for brands that say their bags are 100% compostable or biodegradable, that will mean no plastic. To help you out, we researched and reached out to a bunch of American brands to see what they say about their teas. You can find the list below.

Brands with tea bags that are compostable (no plastic):

  • Celestial Seasonings
  • Mighty Leaf Teas (now's owned by Peet's)*
  • Numi Teas
  • Republic of Tea
  • Stash
  • Yogi Tea

Brands with tea bags that are NOT compostable:

  • Tazo
  • Teavana (Starbucks)

*commercially compostable, not recommended for home composting


2. Reach out to the brand of tea you currently drink and ask them if they seal their tea bags using plastic.

If they do, consider asking them if they are considering changing and explaining to them why the change matters to you. We outline a few reasons why you might care below.


3. Try loose leaf tea.

There are a couple of ways to deal with loose leaf tea. You can get a tea ball infuser, get fillable filter bags and make your own tea bags, use a french press like for coffee, or brew a pot and use a strainer. You can also check out some of our on the go tea mugs. Of course, the other option is to go all out and let the tea brew at the bottom of your cup and then read your tea leaves when you are finished.

Why is all this worry and change worth it? While it might only be a small amount of plastic sealing each tea bag, you are dropping these tea bags in hot water. And, from all of our research, we know that plastic is more likely to melt and leach chemicals when it is heated (1). From reading a couple of tea company websites, the type of plastic most often used to seal the bags is polypropylene. This is marked with a recycle number 5. While this is considered a safer plastic than some of the others, it is still never recommended that plastic be heated (1). On top of the concern that you are drinking some plastic every time you have a cup of tea, which can mess with how your body regulates hormones, disposing of the tea bags also means we are adding to the plastic problem. While often tea bags seem like they can be composted, if they actually contain plastic, they shouldn't be composted. By accidentally incorrectly putting tea bags that do contain plastic in the compost you are adding small amounts of plastic to the compost, which will introduce these chemicals back into the food chain as plants absorb them from the soil as they grow. Instead, these bags should be put in the trash. Or, if you want to go above and beyond, you can open the tea bag, but the tea leaves in the compost, and just place the, now empty, bag in the trash.

So, next time you want a nice, relaxing cup of tea, think about it and opt for one that is free of plastic and better for you and the world.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222987/
Food

Tricks to Turning Soup Cartons into a Full Hearty Meal

Skip the canned soups and their BPA linings

It's full-on soup season over here. And while we love eating a warm bowl of soup all cozied up in a giant blanket, we also know that sometimes soup isn't the most filling. Especially if you are trying to be good and opting for a soup that comes in a carton instead of a can that is almost definitely lined with BPA. While we love the soup cartons for many reasons, including the fact that we are sure they are BPA free, we do realize the soups available in cartons aren't as chunky or filling. But, before you write them off or go back to your standby chunky in the can, hear us out. With just a few tricks, you can turn some of those cartons of soups into hearty, delicious, warm, cozy meals. We always have a couple flavors on hand in the pantry for last minute, low prep, and healthy meals. Here are our top picks!

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL
Food

Why It's Important to Turn the Range Hood On Every Time

Or open the window. Even when you're boiling water. We're serious!


If you heard that chemicals give off dangerous fumes, you probably wouldn't be surprised. But it might be surprising to learn that cooking, or even turning on a stove or stovetop can give off fumes and particles that can be harmful too (5). Think about it, have you ever noticed all the smoke floating away from your cooking pan when you're stir-frying or just plain frying? Or maybe you've smelled something funny when you turn on the burner? Well, in that cloud of smoke are a whole heap of yucky chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM) (5).

Keep Reading Show Less
Food

A Step by Step Guide to Easy Stovetop Popcorn

Trust us, those microwave bags are NOT good for you

Popcorn is basically the perfect snack for any time of the day. No judgement here if you've ever had it for breakfast or even twice in one day! But if you've been microwaving popcorn bags, may we suggest an easy healthier alternative? Stovetop popcorn is not as scary as it seems and is super easy to make. Plus, you can control how much butter and salt you add or try a dozen other fun topping ideas.

Have you ever wondered how a paper bag that is filled with buttery popcorn doesn't break apart or leak any oil? It turns out that the bags are coated in basically a Teflon-esque substance. And unfortunately, that means your popcorn has traces of these PFAS chemicals on them too. PFAS (otherwise known around here as pretty freaking awful stuff) has been linked to all sorts of health problems from cancers all the way down to reproductive and developmental difficulties. But fear not, you don't have to give up your popcorn habit. We have a step by step guide to making stovetop popcorn, as well as a list of fun toppings suggestions to try out. Give it a try!

Keep Reading Show Less
Roundups

6 Non-Toxic Children's Toothpaste Options

They taste like "fruit," will clean their teeth, and are totally safe

No matter how many teeth your kid has, they still should brush them all. These toothpaste options have all gotten great reviews online and are vetted to be safe for your kids. You could technically use them too, but if watermelon toothpaste just doesn't sound appealing to you, you might also want to check out our regular toothpaste roundup. Smile! (Because you are excited we did the research for you and to show off those pearly whites.)

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

Why and How to Make Your Own Bath Bombs

Stock up so you can relax whenever you want

After a long day, very few things are as relaxing as taking the perfect bath. That might include setting the mood with just the right candle, turning on a "spa music" playlist, and dropping a cosmic bath bomb into the water. Or maybe your kid has refused to take a bath for several days and you're getting desperate and think a color filled bath bomb might just be the ticket.

But, that store-bought bath bomb might turn your long-awaited bath into a stew of chemicals that might not be so great for you.

Keep Reading Show Less
Life

How to Pick the Best Candle for Your Spa Night

our tips for the healthiest way to set the mood

It's Friday night. Congratulations on making it through this brutal, long week. We completely understand that all you've got on your mind are the wine and cheese sitting in your fridge calling to you. OH, and maybe a bubble bath with those brand new candles you just purchased. It's the perfect spa night. Yep, it's happening. Forget going out, tonight is all about staying in. But before you light a million candles in the bathroom, hear us out on why maybe just one (or some cute string lights) will do!

Keep Reading Show Less
Family

Non-Toxic Cribs for Your Little One

even if they decide to gnaw on them

Your children deserve a crib that is both cute and healthy. While we can't promise they won't learn how to climb out of these ones, we can promise that they aren't covered in chemicals or releasing large amounts of potentially dangerous gasses into your baby's room while they nap. All of our picks are GREENGUARD Gold certified, except for our budget solid-wood pick from Ikea. While you are looking for a safe crib, you might also want to peruse our roundup of safe crib mattresses, to double down on the safest of safe sleeping places for your kiddos.

Keep Reading Show Less
Want more news like this?
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update!
By submitting above, you agree to our privacy policy.
/ SOCIAL