The end is nigh…

My favorite teabags

My favorite teabags

… the end of teabags, that is.

OK, I’m lazy, but I do so love teabags. And I used to think that they were a harmless luxury because they were just made of tea and (unbleached) paper, which composts down and goes back into my garden soil, right? WRONG! They are also made of plastic. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I was shocked to discover a while back that tea bags (apart from the ones with string and a staple) are stuck together with plastic – even the organic ones.

I wrote to Clipper and they told me that yes, they use plastic in their teabags, but it’s not a problem (to them, obviously, not to me). I wrote to Jacksons of Piccadilly because I’d seen mention that their teabags did not contain plastic, but they didn’t even bother to respond… leading me to assume that reports were wrong, because otherwise they’d have been jumping up and down about their plastic-free products and we’d all have been flocking to buy them. So that left me with only one option – give up teabags. You will note that I didn’t consider giving up tea, that would be a step too far!

Tea caddy and a cosy teapot

Tea caddy and a cosy teapot

Of course, giving up tea does not equate to giving up plastic, because most tea comes wrapped in plastic packaging. However, this is not such a problem because (a) at least I can see the stuff and deal with it appropriately, and (b) I can buy my tea loose  from a local shop and take my own container (I already do this for coffee).

And so I have been gradually starting to use loose tea. I bought several different types to try and a new teapot with an infuser. There are still a few teabags in the tin, but only a few, and when they are gone I’m not buying any more. I’m still grumpy about this, but I am determined. Now I just have to decide which blend of tea is my favourite.

Oh, and let me take this opportunity to show off a new tea cosy that I received from a dear friend… and the hens’ attempt to recreate it:

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35 Comments

  1. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our principles… Bravo for taking a stand, and I feel sure your reward will be rediscovering how much better loose tea tastes. Fabulous teacosy, by the way.

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  2. That is one wonderful tea cosy. I am a bit shocked about the plastic in teabags. Should I too make a stand I wonder?

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    • I hope you will think about it… I hate the idea of ‘insidious plastic’ in something I quite reasonably assumed is only made from natural and biodegradable things. Clipper’s stand is that it’s only a tiny amount, but I wonder how much it adds up to in the UK in one week!

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  3. But leaf tea DOES make better tea, I think. Though what a hypocrite I am to say that. My life would be in no way the poorer if tea didn’t exist. Thanks for giving me a good excuse not to buy the stuff.

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  4. I’m surprised to learn that about tea bags. Who knew? I don’t drink tea of any kind, but I buy Earl Grey for Rob. Makes you wonder where else they hide that stuff….

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  5. Well done on taking a stand…. you will never look back though… loose tea is so amazing better! I don’t allow tea bags into the house (not for your honourable reasons), but because they taste so disgusting! Although now that I know they use plastic I would be even more against them.

    If you can get your hands on Barry’s Gold Blend tea, or even Campbells, your life will be complete 🙂

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  6. I, too, cannot live without tea and have been brewing loose leaf ever since I read your post about plastic in tea bags. It seemed like a huge effort at first but now I really like the ritual. That tea cosy and your girls’ similar pose made me giggle. How lovely all round. xoxoxox

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    • Nice to hear I made a difference. At the time we’d just bought a huge box of teabags and they have lasted much longer than they otherwise would because of the gradual introduction of leaves. Well, nearly done with them now… I didn’t want to waste them as they were already here.

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  7. I’m not really a tea drinker but I am constantly annoyed by plastic packaging that isn’t necessary and often isn’t recyclable. We should probably all be making a fuss about it . . .

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    • So many things with so much unnecessary packaging… we shouldn’t have to make a special effort to find items that are not overpackaged! Hiding plastic in teabags, however, I cannot understand.

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  8. We use loose tea but I do still use the teabags when I’m in a hurry…. Guess I’m going to have to get one of those individual trainer things. You know – it has a hinge and lets you fill it up. 🙂

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  9. It’s rude when they don’t reply like that. Did you have a response from Twinings tea as they are responsible for the Jackson’s brand? I was on their site and tried to send an email but it says it’s not valid address. Well done for the stand anyway.
    The tea cosy looks great.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

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  10. What a nightmare! I have been merrily throwing coffee bags on the compost heap. I have no idea what they are made of.
    I am so sorry to hear this news. Making tea with loose leaves and using a pot is nice, but it is so messy. They never seem to want to leave the pot on rinsing.
    Maybe you will have to crochet some little bags for your loose tea.

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    • I buy coffee beans and grind my own. so I’m not sure about those, but I’m guessing that if it’s bad enough for teabags, it’s bad enough for coffee bags… better than the incredible amounts of waste generated by those little pod things… Tassimo and the like.

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  11. While I love the convenience of teabags, I love MORE the ability to try the new varieties and blends at my local teashop (At least that’s what I tell myself when I’m missing the convenience of a teabag.) I’ve found a convenient little strainer that lets me make it a cup at a time when there’s no time for a whole pot. Cheers, ben

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  12. I have been buying loose tea ever since I read your first post about the plastic – see you DO make a difference! I don’t buy much though as I rarely drink it myself, it is for visitors. If you find a really good brand I should like to hear about it. It strikes me that the positive thing about using loose leaf is you have to go back to the ritual of tea making. You have to buy a teapot and that can become an absorbing act in itself – getting the right one that doesn’t drip when you pour for instance has always been a challenge for me! Once you have a teapot of course you must have a teapot cosy. I came across a book of eye catching patterns just last night while looking for something altogether different on Fishpond. Then you have to wait the minutes required for proper infuson, pour and drink. I think I would take up tea drinking if I found a flavour I liked and a pot that poured well and had a pretty tea cosy too 🙂

    I still buy my peppermint tea in teabags – I suppose they have plastic in them too…… sigh!

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  13. I don’t drink tea but the very environmentally conscious husband does and he was Not Impressed. Think we might be heading towards loose leaf tea as well.

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  14. We have infusers here to make tea as my daughter is a tea snob. She buys her loose tea carefully. She said Lipton is made from what is swept off the floor. So sorry to hear about the tea bags.

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  15. I had no idea! Lovely tea cosy.

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  16. I too have been using loose tea recently and have bought a couple of infusers that are working well. I agree with some of the other comments that the ritual of making a good brew with loose tea makes the drink so much more enjoyable not to mention the taste is so much better than a bag. Now I have read your post I will be deserting the tea bag altogether!

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  17. LOL! That’s a perfect, almost to the ‘hen’ representation of your gorgeous new tea cosy. It’s almost as if the girls posed it 😉

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