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Use a tea infuser or strainer

By Shomik Ghosh |
Cut down on the waste created by your tea-drinking habit: replace disposable tea bags with reusable tea infusers and loose leaf tea.
A tea bag may seem like an insignificant addition to the landfill, but consider all the packaging associated with these tiny items: the paper box wrapped in plastic, the paper or plastic that is often wrapped around the tea bag, the tea bag itself, the string, the tiny staple, and the tea tag. In fact, if everyone eliminated just the tea bag, string, and tea tag from their garbage, yearly landfill contributions would be reduced by more than 1 million tons.[1] Fortunately, it's easy and inexpensive to avoid the wasteful tea bag — purchase a tea infuser and loose tea instead!

What to look for when choosing a tea infuser

Tea infusers come in many styles and can be made from a variety of materials. While any infuser will reduce the amount of waste your tea-drinking habit creates, you can reduce your environmental impact even further by purchasing a tea infuser made from eco-friendly materials. These include:
  1. Stainless steel: Stainless steel is an alloy of steel, nickel, and chromium so, due to the impacts of mining and the energy used to produce it, it's not an inherently green material. However, stainless steel typically contains 65 to 80 percent recycled content (up to 100 percent is available) and it's fully recyclable. Recycling steel uses a fraction of the energy required to produce it from virgin sources.[2]
  2. Glass: While the furnaces required to make glass require a high rate of energy consumption and create greenhouse gas emissions, glass is completely nontoxic and can be recycled indefinitely, making it a green choice for tea pots and cups with built-in infusers.
  3. Bamboo and organic linen: Tea infusers are sometimes made from soft materials, like a reusable tea bag. If you opt for a fabric tea infuser, make sure it's made from organic or rapidly renewable fibers.

Find it! Tea infusers

Tea infusers are designed to be used and reused with loose tea leaves. Some of GY's favorites include:

Using a tea infuser and loose tea helps you go green because…

  • It reduces needless landfill waste. Celestial Seasonings, a Colorado tea maker, saves an estimated $300 million and 3.6 million pounds of waste a year by packing its tea bags without wrapper, string, and tea tag.[1]

Footnotes

  1. Culinate ‰ÛÒ Tea Baggage: All that for a cup of tea
  2. GreenHomeGuide - Choose The Best Countertop Material For Your Home — And The Environment
Share with Your Friends & Family
  • Barbara C. 2 years ago
    I put the used tea bag in the compost pile. The paper tag is very biodegradable, and the birds can recycle the tea string in their nests. I like Celestial Seasonings tea, but without the string, I have to be careful I don't burn my fingers taking it out of the teacup!
  • tommy b. 2 years ago
    Today
  • Bonnie K. 2 years ago
    I use a metal tea ball, have had it since 1969 when I got my first apartment. I also use Celestial Seasonings teas.We always save the tea and coffee grounds for compost or put in garden straight up for plants.
  • Deborah M. 2 years ago
    Sure, tea bags are great for my compost, but I also use a tea ball. Someone gave me a few boxes of flavored teas in those little plastic cups that you are supposed to use in those fancy tea and coffee makers. I just empty the tea into a tea ball and make my tea!
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