One Sustainable Change: Choose sustainable tea and coffee

When it comes to sustainable living, I consider myself very well-informed. Imagine my surprise when I found out that tea bags are not completely biodegradable. In fact, most of those ‘paper’ tea bags contain polyproplyene (a plastic) so they are only partly biodegradable. Now I realise why I still find tea bags in the bottom of my compost heap!

I had already switched to loose leaf tea a few months ago, but I do occassionally drink one of my husband’s tea bags. (I won’t be doing that anymore).

So if you are a tea drinker, switching to loose leaf tea can make a daily difference to your environmental impact. I also can’t help but wonder if it will also make a difference to your health. Surely it can’t be good for us to be steeping our hot tea with plastic.

To make the biggest difference to your impact, find your local food co-op or bulk food store, and buy your loose leaf tea completely free from packaging. If you don’t already own one, buy yourself a pretty fairtrade teapot, or try a stainless steel tea infuser which you can use in place of a tea bag.

While we are on the subject of hot drinks, coffee must be addressed too. Coffee pods are a serious environmental burden. In Europe up to a third of all coffee sold is in coffee pods and even the original inventor of the coffee pod regrets the invention. Many companies have recycling programs, but as with most things, ‘reduce’ should come before ‘recycle’ when you are looking to minimise your impact.

If you already own a home machine, there is a zerowaste solution. These stainless steel refillable coffee pods are a fantastic option for you to move away from disposible pods. The bonus of this is that you can also ensure that you are buying Fairtrade coffee to further improve the environmental and social impact of your favourite beverage.

If you haven’t yet adopted the coffee pod phase, great! But you might want to to check your impact still. Perhaps you need to carry your resuable coffee cup more often. I know I forget to pack mine more than I would like to admit!

These small changes to your habit can add up to a big impact over time. The more we can avoid creating waste, the lower our carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Do you have any other small sustainable changes to recommend?

  • AldenWicker

    Wait, some of the paper ones have synthetics in them, too? That is so frustrating! I try to get loose, but the closest grocery store to me doesn’t sell it loose. It’s just another stop I have to add to an already overly complicated grocery shopping run. Sigh.

    • I know how you feel! Grocery shopping is pretty complicated when you are trying to minimise your impact. My strategy is to try to make some sort of outing out of it- like finding a nearby cafe with wifi and writing for an hour. That way the trip isn’t just about a grocery run, but rather a nice new routine that serves some other purpose