Tea is an integral part of British life and I can’t imagine what life would be like without a morning brew or a coffee on the weekend so we thought we’d put together some tips on how to have a more sustainable tea or coffee. As a one of the worlds largest consumers of tea this is definitely a way we can all make small changes which would cumulatively have a surprisingly big impact when you consider where your drink is sourced from, how its made and what you drink it in.
The coffee pod has come under fire for its considerable amount of waste over the past few years, yes they reduce the amount of waste being produced by single use takeaway cups but for 6g of coffee they create 3g of waste. Even former Nespresso chief executive Jean-Paul Gaillard says it is time for consumers to think about the price of convenience.
"It will be a disaster and it's time to move on that. People shouldn't sacrifice the environment for convenience"
One of the most sustainable ways to brew zero waste tea & coffee is by using a French Press. Helping you only brew what you need, French Presses come in sizes from as small as 12oz and up to 50oz of coffee at once.
Tea drinkers might be surprised to learn that your biodegradable tea bag may contain plastic and whilst it’s only a small amount we brew up 60 billion cups of tea a year in the UK according to the tea and infusion association. Luckily there are some companies who take plastic seriously and Clipper tea has announced that they have created the first completely plastic free tea bag made using natural plant based materials.
Co-Op have announced its commitment to going plastic free with plans to remove the plastic strip that seals its owns brand tea bags.
Aldi – Another supermarket showing it can be done with their own brand ranges the Premium speciality selection is plastic free and biodegradable.
Waitrose – The Duchy range is biodegradable and plastic free.
PG Tips – have committed to removing plastic from its bags after 200,000 people signed a petition for the practice to be stopped. PG Tips make 9 billion tea bags a year which will now be transitioned into using a fully biodegradable corn starch material.
Pukka Herbs – with a great range of fruit teas Pukka bags are plastic free and tied together with organic cotton.
Tetley – Contain polypropylene plastic, but have committed to trialling a new plastic free bag.
"We are aware of the recent concerns over the small amounts of plastic in teabags and we take our responsibilities to the environment seriously. If the new material meets all of our requirements we will review options to transfer our manufacturing to this new material as part of our commitment to source more sustainable and biodegradable alternatives to plastic.”
Twining – Sadly we’ve had to cut our favourite tea from the cupboards, no more lady grey for the moment as their ‘heat-sealed’, ‘pyramid’ and ‘string and tag’ bags include plastic.
Yorkshire Tea – contain polypropylene plastic, a bit behind the rest of the market Yorkshire tea have now begun there second round of testing on a biodegradable tea bag.
Kettles are not renowned for being energy efficient, you only have to take a look at a smart energy meter when you pop the kettle on to see that it draws considerable amount of energy. These kettles take 2 new approaches to reducing the amount of energy used to boil the kettle.
This vacuum sealed kettle can keep boiled water hot for up to 4 hours, which is a massive saving in the number of times you need to boil the kettle. Not only that throughout the boiling process it is loosing less heat which leads to a faster boil time for the energy consumed.
Reviews have also commented on how quiet the kettle is, no doubt due to this vacuum seal.
With a one cup water indicator you wont need to waste energy heating water that’s not going to be used. You can achieve a 66% energy saving compared to regular kettles. The Phillips energy efficient kettle takes a low energy approach to improving its sustainability meaning slightly longer boil times compared to similar kettles.
Our top tip for reducing your coffee pots waste is using a French press, this eco friendly French press uses sustainably sourced bamboo. Available at Amazon . The Secret when using a french press is in the grind, using coffee with a uniformity and consistency is essential, coarse grinds may clog the filter while very fine grinds will pass through the filter. Add 7 grams of coffee and 200ml of water and letting stand for 3 to 4 minutes.
Coffee has some mind blowing stats around it and one which shows how big an impact coffee can have on the world is that it’s the second largest international commodity, sitting only behind oil. Due to demand for the coffee bean its no surprise that its one of the biggest causes of forced labour and child slavery in the world, it’s estimated that 250 million child slaves work to produce everyday items such as coffee and cocoa. With such little regard for human life and worth, the impact of coffee growing can have an even larger impact on the surrounding environment.
Grumpy Mule - Available at Amazon
Based in London is fair trade, organic and has rainforest alliance certification. As you’d expect from the name Grumpy Mule is stubborn when it comes to ethics, and that’s why they invest in long term sustainability goals in conjunction with the rainforest alliance best practices. They want you to have conscious coffee.
Café Direct - Available at Amazon
This company holds its own in producing some of the best coffee in the world with over 30 Great Taste Awards and give back more than any other by investing 50% of its profits back into producers direct which is a UK charity who work with farmers to improve sustainability and livelihoods right across the coffee growing world.
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