Being an avid tea researcher, I come across many different types of tea flavours and brands expressing their views on organic teas, ethical practices and thinking about the planet.
Yet what a lot of the companies don't mention is that there is plastic in their tea bags, used as a bonding agent to keep the bags sealed when heated. They do this by heat-sealing small plastic strips to keep the bags closed on the sides. What is even more important to note, is that microplastics are being ingested every time you add that tea bag to boiling hot water and take a sip.
There is enough toxic chemicals in our environment yet what we may not expect is to find these toxic micro particles in our cup. So after an exhaustive amount of data research on the topic, we have found a unique solution that is plastic-free and a definite upgrade in our products health properties.
We initially started with an unbleached paper tea bag, with folded heavy paper and staple to keep the tea intact. Weve had varied responses and the verdict was in : it was time for an upgrade. By going back to the drawing board of our tea bag execution, we found an underlying health hazard : thin plastic strips on the sides of each tea bag that keep it closed.
Noteworthy data on the release of microplastics
A 2019 study showed that “steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95 °C) releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage”.
That is incredibly unacceptable to us and we refuse to expose our community to its harmful effects. We stand for preserving and increasing health and it shows in every one of our product applications. We cherish the planet and work towards a better tomorrow in harmony with the planet and everything living in, above & on it. This is our promise and we’re sticking to it.
Action points for a better CBTea™ experience
We immediately took action on three different fronts. We intended to eliminate :
~ Inked paper &
Having a thick card stock paper to support the bag, on the side of the cup, is a great solution in theory. Yet in real world application, tea is hot and the steam creates a soggy inked paper on top of the cup. It can get messy, unsightly and we’ve scraped it.
Eliminating staples from the tea bag creates an animal-friendly product when tossed out. If / when an animal comes in contact with the used tea bag in the bin, they won’t be injured by any staples poking them. This makes us feel good in so many ways. (sigh of relief here)
Finding a plastic-free tea bag was the last big endeavour. There are many solutions claiming, biodegradable, environmentally-friendly, eco, bio, etc… so we needed to get through the forest to find the gem we were looking for.
Possible & practical solutions
Having a drawstring tea bag is a great solution for eliminating the need for a staple and creating a closing system to keep the label away from the tea steam for a soggy-free tea experience. Two birds with one stone. Success!
The plastic solution was a bit tougher to sift through. The options we came across are :
The issues with these solutions are :
~ Cotton (mainly) use plastic strips to seal the sides.
~ Paper is paper, gathered from trees and (mainly) use plastic strips to seal the sides.
~ Nylon is pure plastic. No way.
~ PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is a lightweight plastic in the polyester family.
~ PLA is a thermoplastic polyester derived from renewable resources. Still plastic!
~ Organic Corn Silk is the solution that best fit the plastic-free upgrade we were looking for and was easy enough to get in quantities that suited our needs. We went with this solution for the new CBTea™ bags.
~ Hemp & Moringa papers were very hard to come by in quantities that suited us. This left it out of reach at the time of production. Also the need for a heat-sealing agent on the sides of the bags was still undetermined. More study is needed yet there are more possibilities to uncover.