I recently posted about my disbelief when I realized synthetic tea bags were my new enemy. According to new research, steeping a single plastic tea bag at brewing temperatures releases billions of microplastics into a single cup. Scientists found that one plastic tea bag releases around 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion smaller nanoplastic particles into the cup. And it seems most of us tea drinkers choose tea bags rather than tea leaves—96% of us in fact.
So if your bag feels silky, it’s probably made out of nylon or plastic. It also worth mentioning that several tea bag brands use polypropylene, a sealing plastic, to keep their tea bags from falling apart. This plastic is not recyclable or biodegradable. So even if your bag isn’t made out of plastic, the brand may be using this plastic sealant. Like most plastics, polypropylene is known for its adverse effects on the body’s endocrine system. And endocrine disruptors can lead to a plethora of health issues that can become chronic conditions.
I know, it seems like all the things we think we know and love are bad for us. And honestly, with the mounting research and knowledge we have now, a lot of change has to be made. But there are options. There was a time we lived without all of these conveniently processed items, and we survived just fine. So don’t get overwhelmed—just buy a better tea bag.
Here are plastic-free tea bag alternatives to help you make the switch.
Stephanie Shepherd pairs her social influence with an enthusiasm for social activism. As an ambassador to The Climate Reality Project, spearheaded by former Vice President Al Gore, she advocates for climate change education. Additionally, Stephanie acts as Strategic Advisor for Khana, a nonprofit that provides girls in the developing world with the tools they need to manage menstruation and stay in school.