Did You Know Bagged Tea is Keeping a Dirty Secret?

Did You Know Bagged Tea is Keeping a Dirty Secret?

You are drinking plastic. Yep, bagged tea has caused people to consume major amounts of plastic each year. Many people know that plastic straws, coffee cups, and grocery bags are harmful, but nobody seems to want to talk about the harming effects of teabags.

Teabags offer the innocent appearance that they do no harm, but we are here to tell you that they are lying. That little bag filled with crushed tea leaves is not what you think.

When I learned that most bagged tea has plastic, I became curious about how often this happened. I have been a life-long tea lover, so I opened my kitchen cabinet and found that all of my favorite tea brands had used plastic in some way. I was drowning in plastic. It disgusts me to even think about how much plastic I have put into my body over my entire life. I realized how wasteful all of my tea was. A few days after learning about my plastic-infected tea stash I took myself to the ëcoffee and teaí aisle in the grocery store. I was disappointed that I never took the time before to actually look at what I was putting in my body. Every tea option on the shelf was a company that used plastic tea bags.

Using plastic in tea is not a one size fits all idea. Different tea companies use plastic in different ways. There are three main types of plastic use in teabags that you should know about.

Types of plastic mixed paper bags

We know what you may be thinking, why not just use paper teabags instead of plastic? Plastic is used to help seal the teabag and maintain its shape when put in hot water. You might be surprised to learn that many popular tea companies use teabags that have up to 25% of plastic in them. Paper tea bags would open and fall apart much easier in hot water. Paper tea bags would also not be able to hold their shape when put into hot water.

Plastic pyramid tea bags

Many teabag manufacturers say that making plastic-free bags would be too expensive to keep a profit. These companies promote that their teas are great for your wellbeing, but they are much more concerned about keeping their profit than keeping their promise. You may be wondering if your favorite teabags contain plastic. We have listed below major tea companies that use plastic in their teabags:


Argo Tea
Celestial Seasonings
Harney & Sons
Mighty Leaf Teas
Numi Tea
Red Diamond
Republic of Tea
Teavana (Starbucks)
Traditional Medicinals
Twiningís Tea
Yogi Tea

McGill University that found plastic teabags do much more than just hold the tea leaves. Steeping one teabag releases 11.6 billion particles of microplastic into one cup of tea.

The high water temperature used in brewing allows the teabag to break down and let plastic be set free in your cup. The amount of plastic found from using teabags were thousands of times higher than what was in other foods and beverages, including bottled water. Bagged tea also contains metals. Microplastics can also contain heavy metals, like lead and aluminum.

Tea Pot

Not only do plastic teabags infect your mug, but they also poison the environment. The kind of plastic that is used to bag your tea is the same plastic used in home insulation, packaging, and clothing fibers. Personally, the idea of putting the same plastic used in insulation into a cup of tea is nauseating to us at Rare Brew. Plastic in teabags also makes them only about 70% biodegradable. Even if you make sure to put your used bags in the compost pile, it may not be able to break down. Plastic tea bags are also not recyclable, so they are going to end up in a landfill. Plastic tea bags are a bad option for the environment, the compost pile, and your body! The crushed tea leaves inside the bag can be composted, but the extra step in cleaning out the teabag is such a hassle. Don't poison your body any longer! Ditch the tea bags and switch to the more flavorful, more natural loose-leaf tea.

Bourbon ginger pear tea

Interested in trying high-quality loose-leaf tea
Check out our selection of full flavor, natural loose-leaf teas.
Happy Brewing!