In this modern era of consumption, it’s common to squander resources without thinking of the future implications of our waste or the carbon footprints of our behavior. Many eat take-out meals and toss their plastic, Styrofoam and soiled paper in the trash. The more resourceful recycle their packaging, while the most resourceful consider the drain recycling places on the environment and bring their own packaging for take-out, their own cups to Starbucks, grow organic fruits and vegetables and create compost bins to replenish their gardens.

While tossing tea bags after their use probably doesn’t have a massively detrimental effect on the environment—most teas and their paper teabags are biodegradable, save for the little metal staple common in many tea products—it’s a mindful practice to consider using tea bags after you’ve steeped your cup of tea. Mindful living is the concept of considering the implications of all of your behaviors, actions, habits and consumptions. As the ecosystem sustains us, it’s a whole-system approach to mindful and thoughtful behaviors that will benefit the planet, and ultimately benefit sustainable living and human life on planet earth. So if being mindful about tea bags seems like an irrelevant practice, consider it as one step toward a healthier planet and positive, holistic mentality. Tea bags… Healthy planet… World peace! Well, not quite… but here are a few constructive and resourceful ideas for the use of teabags.

Feed Your Garden

Tea grounds actually have several positive benefits for the garden. Save all of your tea bags, brew them together, and water your plants because tea can inhibit the growth of fungus. Another use for grounds (removed from the tea bag packaging) are to fertilize soil and repel mice, gophers and other pests.

Treat Eye Infections, Reduce Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles

The tannic acid in tea bags can help treat infections such as pink eye or reduce swelling after a night of sleeplessness. To treat, place warm tea bags on each eye and rest for up to 20 minutes.

Treat Rashes and Insect Bites

Tea has a soothing effect on itchy rashes and insect bites. Place warm tea bags on the afflicted area and allow absorption for up to 20 minutes.

Facial Toner

If you’re a jet-setting traveler and forgot your facial toner, tea bags are a great substitute. Grab a bag from the hotel kitchenette, or request one from a restaurant, brew it up, and wipe over your face. The astringent and tannic properties in tea will work to tone your skin.

Drawer Sachets

Tea leaves have numerous odor-absorbing properties. Create drawer sachets by placing a few drops of essential oils on the bags. Try combining geranium, clove and orange together for a bright scent, or ylang ylang and rose for a muskier, floral scent. The same essential oil combination can be used to create potpourri: empty tea leaves together into a glass bowl and add a few dried flowers and orange peels for color, and voilà: a home fragrance that’s sustainable, biodegradable and attractive.

Did we miss any additional uses for tea bags? Let us know in the comments below!