Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The "Greening" of our Tea Habit

It seems like our culture is really starting to promote all the "little" things we do on a daily basis to be more ecological and "green". The idea is that even the seemingly small things add up to significant amounts when we all contribute to them frequently. This concept is really driven home lately with the reusable bag, especially promoted for grocery shopping to *reduce* the amount of paper & plastic bags used. Even the last shopping bag I got from the shoe store Steve Madden was a huge reusable cloth bag, and the small bag I got from the yoga apparel store Lululemon is a plastic-coated cloth bag that I now use to bring my lunch to work everyday.

In this light, we are looking at the "greening" of our tea habit.

Loose leaves are more ecological than tea bags, because:
  1. there is no tea bag to go into landfill.
  2. the leaves can go right into your garden compost or your city's Compost & Green Waste recycling bin.
  3. the leaves of high quality loose tea are often hand-picked and processed rather than machine processed as many tea bag leaves are (using the CTC process - Cut, Tear, Curl or Cut, Tear, Crushed). These CTC machines are powered by fossil fuels.

In addition to the tea leaf processing & steeping, it's important to look at their packaging too. Our tea tins are fully recyclable. But since it's even better to *reuse* than *recycle*, it's most ecological to buy in larger quantities (1 lb bulk bags), and refill your tin as you go, or just use the large resealable bulk bag on a daily basis. (You can find all bulk options for sale in the drop-down menu on the right side of each individual tea page. See screenshot image below.) Buying in larger bulk quantities also gets you the best deal on a per ounce, and per cup, basis. The stats for per serving costs are listed in the Features section of each tea page - listed for both buying by the tin and by larger bulk quantities. This makes it both ecological & economical!

You can also *re-use* your current
collection of tea tins for things around the home and office, such as:
  • a holder/organizer for pencils, pens, paper clips, rubber bands, etc.
  • a planter for small plants and herbs (poke holes in the bottom for drainage if needed)
  • a container for home-made candles (use the lid to make it a great travel candle, shown in image to the right, made by one of our customers - so cool!)
  • a container for holding herbs & spices bought in bulk

Please post comments with your ideas for used tins...
I'd love to compile a huge list for our website.

And *that* my friends is the greening of our tea habit, from the tea leaf processing, to the steeping & composting, to the packaging. All questions, comments, and feedback welcomed... let the conversation continue....


  1. I have about a dozen tins that I will not be able to reuse (but the tea was delicious!) How can I recycle them? Are the tins recyclable? How can I find out if, for example, the city of Denver recycles them? Or, can I take them to a Whole Foods or Sunflower Market to recycle? Thanks!

  2. Hi Denise! Yes, you can put the tea tins in your normal "mixed" recycling bin, since they are made of tin-plated steel. I have confirmed this with our City of Boulder recycling company, Eco-Cycle. Cheers!