Australians drink an average of 9.5 cups of tea per week and many of us have developed the habit of conveniently grabbing a tea bag rather than take a few extra moments to brew a pot.
However, while enjoying the first sip of the day or the relaxing cuppa after a busy day, have you ever wondered what goes into your teabags?
It is well known that drinking moderate amounts of tea can be good for your health and can be known to aid digestion, boost your immune system, even help ward off cancer. But did you know that some teas bags contain hidden nasties including microplastics and bleach?
Since they were first invented in American early last century, mass production of tea bags has led manufacturers to look at ways to cost-effective ways of ensuring the tea stays inside the bag during steeping and handling. The early concepts of tea holders were designed to save on wastage for single cups and for convenience. Nowadays most people only use teabags rather than loose tea.
Original tea leaf holders, the forerunner of what we know of as tea bags, were hand-sewn cloth bags made from silk, muslin or cotton. Today, most teabags are made from paper blended with a variety of synthetic fibres such as food-grade nylon, viscose rayon, PVC or polypropylene, which help the bag retain its strength and shape when wet. The bags then leach compounds into your tea when steeped in boiling water.
In addition, tea bags are bleached to give them a clean and pleasing appearance. Once hot water is added, a toxic substance, like dioxin, may be created and leach into the tea. Dioxins are absorbed by fat tissue in the body and may accumulate over time.
In 2019, a university study in Quebec found that when steeped in hot water, a single plastic teabag released billions of microplastic particles into the cup. While the World Health Organisation claims that the risk from drinking microplastics is low, there is not really enough research to understand the impacts on human health.
Quite often teabags are cheaper than loose leaf tea. This is because the tea used in teabags is usually the lowest grade of tea – called ‘the fannings’, it is the dust leftover once the higher-grade tea is selected for loose leaf.
When selecting brands of tea, look for those that are organic and compostable, as well as unbleached. Better still, choose loose tea and enjoy a freshly brewed cup customised to the strength of your choice. You can also purchase fillable tea bags for the convenience of making your own individual tea bag and having a plastic-free and healthy tea bag ready for use when you are away from home.
There are many single-cup infusers, balls and strainers on the market and many of them are cute and playful. They ensure that making a single cup of tea is not a drag or a chore and can be a simple part of enjoying tea at any time, including on the go.
Once you have enjoyed the aroma and flavour of customised tea, you won’t want to waste to return to plastic and dust. You deserve better than that.
Teaporium has always been committed to offering sustainable, organic and biodegradable products, sourced and packaged ethically. Teaporium tea bags are 100% biodegradable and unbleached. They are safe for you and can be safely put straight into the compost.
Additionally, the high-quality blends or single-ingredient loose leaf teas can be enjoyed steeped gently in a teapot or perfectly measured into a basket infuser to sip while on the move.
Gifting individualised teabags or sample-sized blends to your friends is the perfect way to show that you care about their health and comfort as you can protect them from the potentially harmful effects of nanoplastics and bleach, while enjoying a relaxing, refreshing and perhaps medicinal cup of freshly brewed tea.