One of the things that I love about blogging is that I’m communicating…and people are communicating right back with me! It’s instant and it’s powerful. Take this plastic in our tea bags thing that I’ve been banging on about, for example. At first there were a few of us discussing it over Twitter and writing things on our blogs (initiated, I must say by @polytheenpam, not me), and now it seems that there’s a mini army at work, trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on with our old friend the tea bag! Between us, we are getting the word out that there is plastic in some tea bags, trying to work out which ones, and letting it be known that we don’t want to drink plastic tea!
The original post that @polytheenpam wrote on Plastic is Rubbish can be found here, and Lindsay of Treading My Own Path published this great post yesterday. I wrote a few posts mentioning the issue, and then tweeted Tetley, Twinings, Café Direct, Yorkshire Tea and PG Tips to find out if they use plastic in their tea bags – you can read more here (there is no update since then). Nicola* who tweets as @mehubbyandkids contacted @teapigs through Twitter, which she then followed up with an email. They confirmed that they do not use plastic in their tea temples, which they say are 100% made from a bi-product of corn starch called Soilon. (I added the link). They go on to state that it can take anywhere between 12 and 36 months to break down in a home composter. Jax Blunt who tweets as @liveotherwise contacted @LidlUK, who have said they’ll find out for her if their tea bags are plastic-free.
So, there you go – we’re on the case! If you want to find out if your tea bags are made with plastic, why not get in touch with your preferred brand? If you’re communicating via twitter, why not jump on the hash tag #plastictea so that others can see your progress. I’d be really interested in any new information that’s uncovered.
Anyway, my trusty tea bags have broken my heart, so they’re dumped! I’m hooking up with the plastic-free tea leaf now, and this morning I finally took a trip into Whittard in Edinburgh to acquire some. I left the kids at home with Daddy – assuring him that although this did, to all intents and purposes, seem like I was off on a lovely Saturday morning shopping trip, I was actually on a mission for Plastic Free July…
Whittard on Princes Street, Edinburgh
I haven’t been to Whittard for years, but it was a lovely shop with the friendliest of staff, who were very happy to weigh out my tea, and give it to me in my own container.
Selection of loose tea leaves
I hadn’t considered buying anything other than English Breakfast tea, but I reckon I might be more adventurous on my next visit.
My tea, and a selection of strainers
I bought an open tea strainer from John Lewis for making tea in a pot, plus two individual tea strainers from Whittard for popping in a mug. I realise they are swathed in plastic, but I decided that this is the short-term trade-off to allow me to drink plastic-free tea, long-term.
Tea strainers in action
Okay, so I think that’s enough on tea for the moment. I may revisit this topic with a separate post after July – short updates only from now on!
In other news, I think I’m still doing well in significantly reducing my single-use plastics. One indicator of this is our bin bag, which has taken much longer than usual to fill up. I have cut right down on things like yoghurt pots, biscuit wrappers and juice cartons (which are non-recyclable in my area, as far as I can tell). The children don’t seem to have noticed that some of their usual favourites aren’t making it into the house at the moment, and are enjoying the new alternatives such as more baking, freshly squeezed juice and rice, instead of pasta and noodles – which take up more plastic wrapping per portion.
I’m enjoying focussing on where I use disposable plastics, and on trying to find solutions. I’ll be off the blog until the end of the week, but will be back then to update on my progress. Good luck to everyone who’s taking part in Plastic Free July – we’re nearly half way now!
*A big thank you to Nicola for sharing the email from Tea Pigs with me, and giving her permission for me to use it in my post.