Mrs Green enjoys a cup of zero waste tea!

Filed in Blog by on December 7, 2009 10 Comments
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Mrs Green finds unpackaged tea

Mrs Green finds unpackaged tea

We’ve had coffee and tea on the brain recently.

We had some extensive work done on a water leak in the house which meant 8 thirsty workmen to make cups of tea for. We were lucky we found enough mugs!

Zero waste tea and coffee is something which comes up time and time again on the blog.
Recently I wrote about my own home grown, home dried herbs for making herbal tea. But even I know that it’s not quite the same as a cup of the black stuff 😉

A while back we discussed the quest for zero waste tea and in the comments section John found PG tips for loose tea while Just Gai mentioned Jacksons of Piccadilly for tea bags

So I’ve been scouring the countryside to get the latest gossip on the nation’s favourite drink. I didn’t have to go far; only to our local Budgens, which seems to be my favourite place to shop at the moment (despite losing the deli counter – sigh!)

I rattled, prodded, poked, sniffed and squeezed every box of unwrapped tea bags I could find. As you’ll probably be aware, your choices for tea packaging amount to cellophane wrapped, no cellophane but composite foil packs inside or horror of horrors – BOTH of them together!

We can indeed clarify that Jacksons of Piccadilly sell tea bags in cardboard boxes sans any plastic wrap. What’s most exciting about this, is that they are Fair Trade too!
We also found traditional Redbush tea, which is caffeine free if that takes your fancy.
In the co-op we found their own label ‘everyday’ tea which was also packaging free. Yes, it might well be taste free too, but at one thousand bags for sixpence it’s worth a go if you’re a tea fiend.

We haven’t checked out all the loose tea yet, but we’ll be back on the case soon.

If you’ve found any other packaging free tea bags, please leave a comment below!

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (10)

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  1. John Costigane says:

    Hi Mrs Green.

    Great to see some teabags still have no plastic packaging locally. Loose tea is the only option here as some bags had added plastic recently which seemed a daft decision. I always check packs for plastic content by squeezing or poking boxes and often find boxes, for various items, which have been checked previously by other enthusiasts which is quite heartening.

    Another aspect of replasticking is with Pears soap a longtime Zero Waste option. I bought 2 of these latest offerings unaware of the excess packaging. I also found a change in the soap, previously always a solid bar which shrank with use. The one opened has disintegrated into a load of bits of semi-liquid soap, with the rest a lump, which is a total change from previous bars. Maybe that is the real reason for the plastic wrap. I wonder if anyone else has has the same experience with Pears.

  2. Poppy says:

    That sounds like an excellent reason to put pen to paper to find out more John.

    We have quite a stock pile of special offer teas at the moment, but next time the need arises, I’ll make sure I prod and poke all the packaging. Open boxes? Mmmm… yes, guilty! Sometimes there is just no other way to find out what is hiding in the box! 😉

  3. Nice work Mrs. Green. I do rather like loose tea, but it’s handy to have some bags around too.

    John- I find that packaged soap is too “wet”, so it disintegrates faster. If you unpackage it and leave it out for a few weeks, the air will harden it up, and then it lasts much longer. Of course, what with the plastic wrap, I guess you won’t be buying that particular brand anymore. . .

  4. Nick Palmer says:

    Hi Mrs Green,
    Remember also the plastic fibres in many teabags. I am still investigating this – it is a can of worms (sorry about the joke).

    An American Fairtrade type ethical tea producer assured one of my contacts that their bags were plastic free then emailed back in shock because they had found out that their teabag paper supplier did include plastic fibres in the paper – but apparently they claim that the plastic is biodegradable. Hmmm. Still working on that one.

    PG tips have assured me that their bags are sealed with only steam and pressure and are compostable – again, I’m still on the case because I feel as if some customer services reps are not always fully knowledgable about unusual requests like this subject and have been trained to give comforting , not very detailed replies.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    @John Costigane: Hi John, we have to be on guard all the time with packaging as it changes so much! Fortunately a lot of it is erring towards the zero waste trend, but some companies sneak in plastic as well. Strange about the soap. I never buy solid soap bars, so can’t comment.

    @Poppy: Poppy! 😀 opening the boxes LOL! Actually, I think I might have done once or twice too 😉 All in the name of research of course …

    @Jen Clean Bin: Hi Jen, yes tea bags are definitely the convenient option. Thanks for the tips about the soap, I never knew that!

    @Nick Palmer: Hi Nick; good to see you again and thanks for the reminder about the fibres used in the bags themselves. So much to think about! I totally agree about ‘canned responses’ from manufacturers; I always follow things up. I look forward to your findings when they are ready!

  6. John Costigane says:

    @Jen Clean Bin: Further to what I said, Jen, this seems like a new type with a different bar shape, slightly convex compared to the standard bi-concave shape. The concave shape gives minimal contact with damp work surfaces which might explain part of the problem, but the soap itself is softer. New products/formulations can fail in the light of consumer experience and this seems a good example.

    On a different note, your previous pie-chart of consumers, from ‘green’ to ‘polluter’ was a good indicator for the many views on recycling, for and against. The new commingled system locally seems to be a way to draw-in the majority of householders, of all views, due to its ease-of-use.

  7. Ben says:

    @Nick Palmer: I never knew that tea bag paper might contain plastic fibres. I guess it makes sense though, as just normal paper would go mushy and tear easily.

    @Jen Clean Bin: Good advice about the soap, I always take it out the packet and let it harden before use. I don’t have any trouble with it any more. Never had much luck with the clear glycerine bars though, they go opaque and mushy whatever I do with them.

  8. OOh, I never knew that about tea bags containing plastic. Thanks for the info.

  9. Sarah says:

    Will research my beloved Earl Grey when next shopping, I may even remember to report back!

  10. polythenepam says:

    Twinings teabags fruit teas and Earl Grey all come in card board boxes with compostable biodegradable inners. Try them out.

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