Biodegradable Tea Bags

It was brought to our attention recently that some tea bags are not really biodegradable as they use polypropylene glues to seal the edges of the tea bags.  This is only the case for tea bags that are heat sealed in the tea bagging process.  The tea bags used in Steenbergs bagged teas do not use polypropylene as they are crimped shut rather than heat sealed.  However, there is the metal staple in the tag which is not biodegradable on a short time frame.  The long and short of it is that you can chuck your tea bags onto your compost heap ithout any problem but you need to put your staples either into your recycling or in the bin.  In the future, we will remove the staple part of the tea bag.  Finally, you can use Steenbergs Loose Leaf Teas which comprise the majority of our range, which have no tea bags, but you have a nice tin that can be refilled with our refill tea packs that come in sizes up to 1kg, or can be recycled. 

On the downside, Steenbergs organic Fairtrade Mulling Wine sachets are heat sealed and so are not biodegradable easily as they used polypropylene in their manufacture.  We will now start looking into whether we can remove this without causing other issues, especially things that may use genetically modified corn starches.

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4 Responses to “Biodegradable Tea Bags”

  1. Helen Fenby says:

    Hello Axel and Sophie, I’ve just been reading your latest blogs about your experiences in Dumfries and Galloway, it’s excellent to read about the places and flavours you’ve enjoyed! Thank you so much for all your praise about Cream o’ Galloway, it’s always encouraging to get positive feedback but I particularly appreciate it from people who understand good food and who understand business.
    I’m delighted to know that you participated in so many of the activities here and I’ve printed your blog from 31st July so that all the staff here can read it.
    I’ve just been reading your entry about polypropylene glues in the teabags… you just never know do you! Anyway, you also mentioned that our tea could be better… we use Clipper Organic Tea at the moment but I’m always open to suggestions for something better. Do you offer catering packs of tea and do you have any organic or fairtrade teas we could try?
    Best wishes, Helen.

  2. Axel says:

    Hi Helen
    We do love Cream O’Galloway and will be back next year, although only for a week next year as we will be spending a week also in Northumberland together with my parents, my sister and her family and brother. Clipper tea is also good as people, ethics and tea. I think the problem with tea making over coffee making is that the taste of the tea is really affected by using water that is left standing, i.e. you should really boil it fresh every time which is just not practical in a catering environment. I will send you some green and black tea to try, which can then be done as catering. We are also looking at putting some of our more specialist teas into corn-based tetrahedrons like Teapigs use, which would allow us to provide a bigger range. Thanks for reading the blog as I sometimes feel that I am talking into the ether!
    Best wishes, Axel

  3. Really interesting, I assumed all tea bags were biodegradable as I have been composting them myself.

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