Earth Day has come and gone, but we need to keep Earth’s best interests in mind every single day. Luckily, there are many tea companies that value sustainability, making it possible for your tea habit to benefit the planet. Here are a few things you can do to be a responsible tea drinker:
1) Buy Tea With Compostable Packaging
We have a huge waste problem. Last year, the LA Times reported that the world produces 1.3 billion tons of waste each year, with the United States leading the way in trash production.
Arbor Teas delivers loose leaf tea in compostable packaging that can break down right in your backyard. The company packages tea in wood pulp cellulose film made from non-GMO, sustainably farmed trees. The company also prints accompanying labels on Fair Trade hemp- or sugar cane-based paper. Arbor’s packaging is special because most materials marketed as “compostable” only breakdown in industrial settings. Explains the company:
“Because of greater variation in moisture and temperature, backyard composting environments have historically been incapable of breaking down so-called “compostable” packaging materials, such as corn-based plastic cups and take-out containers. However, the material in Arbor Teas’ packages requires a less optimized environment for biodegradation, representing a major advance in low-impact packaging.”
Through its sustainability efforts, Arbor Teas reduced the weight of its packaging by over 60% and packed 27% more tea into packages, delivering more product with a lighter carbon footprint.
Moral of the story: Keep your eyes out for compostable packaging when buying tea.
2) BYOM: Bring Your Own Mug
We’ve gotten used to bringing our own bags to the grocery store; now it’s time to start toting your own mug around. Imagine if your mid-day tea break generated no trash… Starbucks alone hands out 4 billion to-go cups a year, and because these paper cups are lined with plastic on the inside, they’re difficult to recycle. The company is testing a recyclable cup in the United Kingdom, but for some people, having a cup that’s recyclable isn’t the problem—it’s the lack of recycling infrastructure that makes recycling impossible. So why not cut out all of these obstacles and bring your own cup to the tea parlor? With the Earth’s medical chart in mind, it’s time to pull the trigger on a reusable mug. Consider the Stojo Pocket Cup:It’s a collapsible travel mug that you can easily throw into your purse or backpack, and enlarge when you’re ready to fill it with your favorite tea. Eco-friendly and stylish, it’s a win-win.
3) Buy Organic
Organic farming practices have a number of benefits over conventional farming practices. Last year, Washington Post columnist Tamar Haspel set out to find if organic farming is really that much better for the earth than non-organic farming. While she wrote that, “There’s never a clear-cut answer to a question like that when you’re talking about something as complicated as farming,” as not all organic farming is the same and not all conventional farming is the same, she found that when comparing five kinds of agriculture—two conventional, three organic—at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s farm in Beltsville, Maryland, the following comparisons rang true:
So while organic food is not necessarily healthier, it is probably better for the environment overall. Do Mother Earth a favor and brew organic tea from companies like Numi Organic Tea, Arbor Teas, or The Little Red Tea Cup Tea Company.