What is the most sustainable material for a tea bag? Without compromising the quality of the tea in any way? For the latter, you’ll need a pyramid shaped bag. That allows the large, hand picked tea leaves from TEAmwork Tea to swirl around and well. A pyramid bag also shows what is inside. Most basic tea bags are non-see through, with good reason. They contain a low quality grit of tea leaves. High quality tea is usually shown: the (pyramid) bags are transparant and the tea leaves are showcased proudly. Ok, so pyramid bags are the way to go. But what should they be made of to be as ‘green’ as possible?
The solution: soilon
First of all, you’ll need a material that is 100% biodegradable. That means the tea bag is decomposable and suitable for composting. It will completely break down, without contributing to the plastic pollution in the form of microplastics. My TEAmwork Tea contacts in Sri Lanka introduced me to the material SOILON. This is a bioplastic. It’s made from a lactic acid, that is derived from corn starch. It is completely biodegradable and ‘disappears’ within in a month: soilon decomposes until only CO2 and water are left. Exactly what we need! Furthermore, both the string and the tag of the tea bag can be made of the same material. The WHOLE thing is biodegradable.
First things first: The flavor of the tea still remains incredibly important. All the other pyramid bags out there are made from nylon (plastic), because that gives the best results, flavor wise. SOILON was invented and designed to be a sustainable alternative for nylon. That means it has all the features that make nylon attractive (no flavor, see through, light) – but this time it’s a biodegradable material. As a tea drinker, you will not notice the difference! Not until you discard of the tea bag, and the SOILON tea bag goes into the compostable trash. No plastics used.
Biodegradable? Easy check
If you are wondering if the tea bags in your cupboard are biodegradable, there’s a fun and easy way to check it. In general: organic matter burns. If you want to test if something is biodegradable, simply light it up. If it burns, it’s biodegradable. If it melts, it’s plastic. Who dares to try? ;)
Founder TEAmwork Tea