4 Tips To Help You Make Your Tea Drinking More Sustainable | the ReFab Diaries

I grew up in an ex British colony (South Africa) so I grew up drinking tea... hot, with milk and sugar. My country is also known for Rooibos (red tea) that apparently grows only there! So tea has been a part of my daily life forever and now that I have to be entirely caffeine free (triggers migraines), I depend even more on tea.

However, I’ve come to realize just how much waste tea can produce. From the plastic cups at cafes to the not-quite-compostable tea bags building up, it’s more than I expected. With that said, here are my tips to help you make your tea drinking more sustainable.

4 Tips To Help You Make Your Tea Drinking More Sustainable

Use a reusable cup

Most of the time, I drink tea at home, so of course, I'm using my own mugs. If I’m out and about, however, things get more complicated. I suggest carrying a reusable travel mug with you to your favorite tea shop. Some shops will still brew in your own mug, saving the shop money and saving you from using more plastic.

Drink loose tea

I spent a hot minute standing in the tea aisle at my grocery store recently. I wanted to find a brand that shared my values, or at least a product that lined up with them. Bagged tea is our "normal" and while some tea bags can be composted, the bags that are easiest to find still contain polypropylene. Paper, silk, or muslin bags are great options, but drinking loose tea gets rid of this issue entirely. Plus, its positive impact on the environment is only one of many benefits of drinking loose tea, so I’m happy with it.



Measure your water

Water conservation is one of the most complicated aspects of living a sustainable lifestyle. It isn’t impossible, but it sometimes turns into an afterthought if you aren't living with drought-related restrictions. I noticed that I was boiling far more water than I needed for my tea at times, and my gut instinct wasn’t to return the water to the fridge; it was to dump it. 

I recommend making an effort to remain conscious about the amount of water you prepare and measure it before you boil, or at least have a plan for the leftover water. And yes, I use an electric kettle because it's what I grew up with. I also like that I can easily see how much water is in it.

Buy tea without plastic packaging

While the brands that sell tea nowadays are gradually shifting toward something more eco-friendly, I still have to keep an eye out for plastic. Whether it’s loose or bagged tea, I prioritize brands that choose paper and cardboard for all aspects of their packaging.

Following these four tips will help you make your tea drinking more sustainable! Fortunately, if you love tea like I do, you’re engaging in an industry that is already rather eco-conscious. Continuing to support brands that share this critical value ensures the industry keeps moving in the right direction.




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  1. I totally get what you are saying about tossing the water. I became aware of this a few years ago. I pour all "left over" water on plants. Also, I have a porcelain pitcher that occasionally sits on the counter, and it's for "left over" water. From a drinking glass, steamed vegetables, what ever it's source. I've already paid for it, so why waste? I have titled the pitcher the "Spit Spot". I guess I need to get it out again, I'm realizing I don't utilize it as I used to.

  2. I love that your pitcher has a name! Three cheers to Spit Spot!!


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