Frequently Asked Questions about Tea and the Enviroment

How should I dispose of my tea?
Loose tea is a natural product. As such, it can be safely disposed of in any number of ways. If you live in a municipality that provides compost bins or have your own backyard composter, tea makes an excellent addition. Brewed tea leaves can also be used as a natural fertilizer for plants since the leaves contain nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Simply allow the leaves to dry and mulch into the soil. In all cases, Metropolitan Tea recommends diverting as much material as possible from landfills. 

Are your teabags biodegradable?
Yes, our teabags are made of recycled fibres and are completely biodegradable - unlike many other teabag brands on the market (in particular, “silken” teabags). Again, we fully endorse diverting waste away from traditional disposal methods.   

Why is loose tea better for the environment?
1. Loose tea production bypasses all the energy and excess materials required to produce teabags: string, staples, paper or plastic tags, paper or nylon mesh, etc.  With annual teabag production in the billions per year, the environmental cost of producing teabags is enormous.

2. Production of high quality loose teas depends on the presence of surrounding bio-diversity to impart regional nuance and character. As an example, teas produced on some African gardens situated near eucalyptus fields are said to take on that character. Subsequently, estates where quality loose teas are produced are generally run in an environmentally sound manner. Healthy environments produce better tea.

Supermarket tea and premium loose tea – what’s the difference?
The difference between run of the mill Supermarket tea and our loose premium tea is primarily that teas produced for the mass market tend to be made on large scale factory-type plantations that may have questionable management techniques and more regard for profit than sustainability. Annual visits to our approved suppliers ensure that our gardens never fall into this camp. As well, tea blends created for supermarket teabags generally contain bottom range teas chosen for color rather than flavor and character. 

What does “environmental footprint” mean in relation to a food item?
This refers to the level of environmental impact resulting from the production and shipment of any food item. Environmental impact includes fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, transport, packaging, etc. As an example, the environmental impact of loose tea is smaller than teabagged tea because it requires less processing and packaging meaning lower fuel consumption.  (See above.)

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