It’s good to know which sustainable tea company contributes to the world the most. Since Canadians drink nine billion cups of tea a year! Ninety-four percent of tea drinkers use the tea bag method. So, I’ll be talking about Tea companies that support the teabag method rather than the loose teas.
The first tea bag developed in 1908 from a New Yorker named Thomas Sullivan. He was a sales guy that folded samples of tea leaves into bags for restaurants. He found the restaurant staff using the bags for soaking the leaves. They did this to avoid the messiness. He realized then there was a new marketing opportunity.
Now over a hundred years later, the local grocery store has a huge selection. As a newly conscious shopper, I realize how difficult it can be to make a choice. There is just so much to pick from! There are multiple aspects of environmentalism that come up when picking a box of tea.
Teabags contribute to the world’s garbage pandemic
My objective was to find a sustainable tea company that didn’t use “freshness packs” to pack each tea bag. Companies don’t label the presence of additional packaging within the box. So, I decided to go with a product that mentioned the tea bag was biodegradable paper fiber. The sealed boxes don’t offer a way to check first, so after I paid I quickly tore open the box. There cradled inside the tea box were single-use freshness packages!
These packs are not recyclable and have to be thrown away. Therefore, it’s not a sustainable practice and should be avoided. Also, Teabags won’t biodegrade at all! Even if they’re composted. This is because they’re made from a mixture of polypropylene (plastic) and paper fiber. The reason they use plastic is to help strengthen the bag. This prevents it from falling apart. People don`t question the product because it looks and feels like paper. It`s not immediately apparent this is another single-use product.
I’ve compiled a list of popular sustainable tea brands for you. I’ve outlined below their support for social and environmental causes. I’ve chosen the tea brands that have changed the world of tea the most. I will also tell you if this brand uses single-use freshness packs.
Twinings tea aims to help half a million people by 2020. They want to drive positive outcomes for farmers. Including women’s rights, housing, working conditions, and decent pay. The Rooibos and Cinnamon tea hold the highest percentage of certified sustainable tea standards. Twining teas use foil sachets and non-biodegradable tea bags.
Choice tea is a Washington based company. It uses unbleached, natural fiber, staple-free tea bags. Their boxes are 100% recycled paperboard printed with plant-based ink. They contribute to the world and its’s CO2 dilemma by buying renewable energy certificates. This offset 100% of the emissions from the facility’s electricity usage. They’re the first sustainable tea crafters in the United States to produce organic, Fair Trade Certified, and Non-GMO Project Verified teas.
Celestial tea uses non-biodegradable tea bags and does not use foil sachets. This sustainable tea company donates their time and money to a variety of foundations. Their Colorado-based charities focus on human health services and family advocacy. Plus they support the honey bee colonies across the U.S.A.
Tega Teas use non-biodegradable tea bags and foil sachets. Yes, their online store provides loose-leaf options! This Vancouver B.C. company pays a premium for its ingredients. They believe it’s important to contribute to the world by supporting Fairtrade Certified suppliers. So they pay an additional 50 cents more for every kilogram of fairtrade tea. Those funds also go to supporting Fairtrade Canada and to further grow the Fairtrade Initiative.
Clipper Teas originates in the UK and they’ve produced an unbleached, non-GMO, plastic-free teabag! Hooray!! They’ve worked in the fairtrade movement since 1994 and are the world’s largest fairtrade brand.
The Stash Tea company has worked with the Surfrider Foundation to sponsor a volunteer beach cleanup. They use single-use foil sachets and non-biodegradable tea bags.
Numi tea company offers a biodegradable teabag with its tea products. Ninety-three percent of their teas are fair trade products. In addition, they’ve helped 10,500 people in farming communities. They’ve given them regular access to clean, safe drinking water. The company`s head office is in Oakland, California. They’ve funded a gardening, arts, and social studies program for low-income K-6 children. They also fund educational opportunities for orphans and war victims in Iraq.
Oh, so Wize Monkey! This Biodynamic, farm-direct and farmer-owned tea are pretty special. Their goal to contribute to the world is simple. They want to break the poverty cycle in coffee communities. They do this and work to harvest a sustainable product. It employs 60 Nicaraguan people through the nine-month offseason. With year-round jobs, families can have a steady income. They’ve improved food scarcity and the kids can go to school. Once picked they process the leaves with hydroelectric power. They’re recognized by the world tea awards in 2015. Plus, they wrap these teabag beauties in biodegradable sachets.
The Carbon Footprint
Using loose tea has one-tenth of the carbon footprint than bags of tea. It’s the manufacturing of the string, polypropylene bag itself, sachet, and box that makes the biggest impact on CO2 levels. Tea is grown thousands of miles from Canada and getting it from farm to table makes it a culprit in the environmental issues the world faces today. It’s important that we know that small decisions we make each day can make a large impact.
Since Canadians drink nine billion cups of tea a year. We should know who to support. These are the facts: Firstly, making just one cup of tea at home creates a carbon footprint. It’s between 20 and 340 grams of CO2 per cup. The varying number depends on how much water is used in the boiling. So make sure your kettle is nearly empty. If the tea is made with milk that makes a difference in the CO2 footprint too. Secondly, the little freshness packages inside that box? It’s a single-use product. Furthermore, teabag sachets are not biodegradable or recyclable. The contents inside the bag biodegrade but the bag itself will last in the compost heap for years!
Contribute to the world and make a difference
It’s the small decisions we make in a day that can make a big environmental impact! The decision to find an ethical tea company to support is significant. Especially if your part of the 94% choosing to use teabags. For most North Americans Tea is grown thousands of miles away. Help these small companies continue to make smart and ethical decisions. This is how you can contribute to the world. Help them make the world a better place. Finally, I hope this helps you make an Eco-conscious decision easier. Visiting the tea section in the grocery store has a whole new meaning!
Are you interested in what other companies are contributing to the world? Find out how these grass-root companies are changing business.
For additional information on these Tea Brands see the links below.