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How to choose a sustainable tea brand | teapigs

Posted by Sarah on 9th February 2018

How to choose a sustainable tea brand | teapigs

Plastic-free, biodegradable, organic, Rainforest alliance certified, FSC certified, Fairtrade - when it comes to choosing which tea you want to slurp down with a clear conscious it can become a bit of a minefield. With over 11 years' experience under our belts, and a passion for reducing our own carbon footprint, we thought we’d share our top 5 questions to keep in mind if you’re trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

 

1.  Does your teabag contain plastic?

The majority of paper tea bags contain a small amount of plastic, making them not 100% biodegradable. We have been proudly producing plastic-free tea temples for over 11 years (string ‘n all!) – which begs the question why are we still one of the few companies to be 100% biodegradable and plastic-free 11 years later!? Mind boggling.

 

2. Does your tea contain excess plastic packaging?

Right, you’ve got your plastic-free tea sorted – but oh wait, it comes wrapped in a million layers of plastic. JOY. This was a real struggle for us, as freshness is crucial when it comes to brewing the perfect cuppa - but there are alternatives. Up until 6 months ago, we used a polypropylene plastic bag to hold our tea temples. However, knowing there must be a greener option, we did some research, and hey-presto, ALL our tea temples are now packed into Natureflex – a fab material made from wood pulp that is fully compostable at home.

 

3. Do you know where your tea comes from?

 Do you know how your favourite tea is sourced? As our co-founder is a trained tea taster, it’s always been a top priority to source the very best tea from the very best tea suppliers to ensuring we are ticking 2 very important boxes.

  • Tastes yummy
  • Comes from sustainable well run estates.

There are some really simple ways to tell if your tea is sourced sustainably. Have the brand got Rainforest Alliance certification on any of their teas, or working towards getting certified - helping ensure sustainable agriculture? Are they part of the ETP (Ethical Tea Partnership) - a fab non-profit organisation working to improve the lives and livelihoods of tea workers and smallholder farmers, and the environment in which tea is produced?  Are they part of the Sustainable Restaurant Association?

Look out for accreditation on packs, below are a few of ours:



4. Does your tea give back to the tea growing communities?

It’s no secret that sadly tea growing communities are often some of the poorest in the world – that’s why most tea companies worth their weight will invest heavily back into the local areas. It shouldn’t require much digging to find out if your favourite tea company do this.

As part of our own ethical scheme, we work closely with Point Foundation - a wonderful charity working with vulnerable members of the tea growing communities in Gisenyi, Rwanda (an area from which we source the majority of our everyday brew). So far we’ve donated over £200k which has helped fund the ‘teapigs house’ – a safe environment for disabled youths. 

Find out more about our ethical scheme here 

 

5.  Is your favourite brand transparent with their own sustainability plans?

If a brand isn’t willing to shout about their sustainability and join in some frank discussions regarding their products – it’s probabaly a bit of a red flag (That goes for all brands – not just tea!)

 

We’re thrilled issues such as plastic in tea has finally become such a talking point. We always want to be as transparent as possible, and have put together a detailed guide explaining what all our products are made from, and what products we’re working on this year which you can read here

 

Do you care about this stuff? Would plastic in your tea put you off your favourite brew? Are you willing to pay more for a higher quality tea knowing that the brand is doing everything they can to be as sustainable as possible? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Phew, if you’re still with us you definitely deserve a cuppa and you can find our full range of plastic-free tea temples here