Food & DrinkShop Sustainably

What is sustainable tea?

Find out what a sustainable tea brand looks like, and the importance of one.
Recently, we sat down with the ethy verified member and London-based, plastic free and sustainable tea company

Recently, we sat down with the ethy verified member and London-based, plastic free and sustainable tea company Forager Health, to find out what a sustainable tea brand looks like, and the importance of one.

We learnt a lot, and so will you!

Forager Health founders Sam and Niall enjoying a cup of their sustainable tea blend.

Did you know that 96% of the tea bags used in the UK contain non-compostable plastic? And that most big brand tea bags contain up to 25% plastic in every cup? We didn’t either.

But considering that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, this is a prime example of why consuming sustainable tea is so important - not only for our health, but for the planet’s, and the humble, hard-working farmers who pick our tea leaves.

So, what makes tea sustainable?

It’s actually quite simple! As long as the tea comes from organic tea leaves, no pesticides have been used, there is a fair and direct relationship with the farmers, and last but definitely not least - sustainable and eco-friendly packaging is being used. We won’t name and shame them, but there are a lot of big brand tea companies out there who will put their own profits over sustainability.

Workers at a tea plantation in western Kenya, Africa, 2018.

Unsustainable tea companies use excessive amounts of pesticides on the crops for pest control, which can lead to the fertility of the soil being heavily affected. As well as this, some of these companies who claim to use “natural flavours”, are far from natural whatsoever. These “natural” blends may taste natural, but are in fact created in labs. How crazy, and deceiving is that?

By supporting tea brands that source their tea sustainably, from smaller independent farmers who focus on keeping the soil, and the environment around them, as healthy as possible, we can avoid being misled into buying a product that is actually not natural or sustainable at all. Do your research before buying!

Forager Health Balance: A floral blend packed full of Vitamin C to support a healthy immune system. Designed to help balance and regulate hormones.

What does the future hold for sustainable tea?

Forum for the Future is a leading international sustainability non-profit organisation that works in partnership with business, government and civil society to accelerate the shift toward a sustainable future.

In 2013, Forum for the Future created a campaign called Tea 2030. The project involves companies and individuals across the tea industry, from pickers and packers to producers and purchasers, coming together to solve tea’s sustainability issues by the year 2030.

What makes Forager Health sustainable?

1. “ethy”cally Sourced Ingredients

Forager Health is committed to making sure that their ingredients have been obtained in a responsible and sustainable way. Being ethically sourced means that all employees involved with the production of the teas are paid fairly, and that the gathering of ingredients is done responsibly - by not using pesticides, not damaging the surrounding environment, and not using excess water to clean the tea leaves.

2. Packaging

Tea has to be kept in great packaging to ensure its freshness and long shelf life. That’s why Forager Health uses Ziploc compostable pouches that are starch lined and ideal for tea, in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner. The paper used has a 100% plastic-free, heat-sealable lining, providing a strong water and moisture seal.

Forager Health Anxiety blend: A great way to relax and unwind. Packed with adaptogenic ingredients to help you increase resistance against stress.

3. Plastic free tea bags, made by NASA Corporation

Wait, what? Yes, in January 2020 NASA Corporation launched NeoSoilon®.
NeoSoilon® is a PLA mesh filter for tea bags made from 100% non-GMO sugar cane. PLA (polylactic acid) is a polymer resin made by the lactic fermentation of glucose which is derived from corn starch. Non-GMO is a non-genetically modified organism, like a plant, animal, microorganism or other organism whose genetic makeup has NOT been modified in a laboratory. These tea bags are also home-compostable, within 6-8 weeks!

More information about this revolutionising technology can be found here.

4. 0% Plastic

With roughly 400 million tonnes of plastic being wasted globally on a yearly basis, and 40% of that plastic being used in packaging (which is opened once and then discarded), it is essential that we choose to shop from companies who use the least amount of plastic possible.

From tea bags, to packaging, to labels, to shipping boxes, to packaging tape and leaflets, there is absolutely no plastic whatsoever coming near you when you buy from Forager Health.

Forager Heath has been awarded ethy verification for their commitment to a clean planet, healthy people, thriving communities and responsible resource usage and production.

More companies need to lead by example, as environmentally friendly products and packaging become a mandatory decision for all modern day business owners.

Nicely done Forager Health!

“Sustainability is treating ourselves and our environment as if we are to live on this earth forever” - Niall, Co-Founder of Forager Health.

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