I am a HUGE tea lover. On a normal day, I'd drink between 4 to 5 cups or make a massive tea pot and drink from it throughout the day. I drink tea everywhere from coffee shops (baristas must hate me), to work to social events (I know right, funny person). Favorite flavors include all kinds of green tea but I'd also go with black or white when feeling adventurous.
Yet, as a green monster who is trying to have the smallest impact possible on the environment, I started to wonder if those delicious, and super healthy leaves were harmless for our beloved planet. And guess what? Not so much. Here's what I found about tea and how to keep drinking it in a more eco way.
1. To sustain the growing consumption of tea, natural habitat is cleared to be converted into new tea plantations leading to deforestationand loss of biodiversity. Moreover, like every monoculture, tea plantations decreases the diversity of life found on site, leads to water pollution and soil erosion in the area.
2. But issues linked to tea production are not only environmental. The tea industry has been called out several times by NGOs for inhumane treatment of workers, long hours for a miserable wage and last but not least, child labor.
3. At the end of the chain, your health can also be affected by the tea you drink. Indeed, according to a Greenpeace report, among 49 Indian tea samples tested, nearly 60 percent contained at least one pesticide above the safety limits set by the European Union. China’s teas weren’t any better with nearly 67 percent of samples (18 total) containing pesticides that were previously banned under the Stockholm Convention. These test included high profile brands such as Lipton and Twinning.
4. Finally, WASTE. For convenience many people still use tea bags but little do they know that most of them are not biodegradable hence producing massive amount of waste each year. Moreover, most of the white tea bags are actually chlorine bleached and some of these toxinx can leak in your cup of tea.
So what can YOU do ?
1. Buy loose leaf instead of tea bags. Not only will your wallet thank you, but you'll prevent waste and toxins in your tea but also drink a higher quality tea as tea bags are mostly filled with tea dust. Time to invest in that tea ball!
2. Go organic! While this is worth for most food and drinks, not everyone can afford to go all organic and decisions sometimes to be made in order to prioritize some purchases. Tea is definitely one of them as pesticides are an integral part of the production and the amount found in the final product can be super high causing health issues in some cases!
Here are some of my favorite (organic/certified) brands :
#YogiTea (because they have so many incredible flavors and I just love the messages on the tag)
#Lov Organic (every product is organic and they have the BEST packaging ever)
#Les Jardins de Gaia (fair trade and loose leaves)
#Traditional Medicinals (never tried it myself but only heard excellent feedbacks)
Feeling ready to start drinking tea the eco way?