Are you drinking more than just tea in your cuppa?

Most of us use teabags, it’s an easy way of making your favourite cuppa right?  This month a patient reminded me that not all brands have got their act together when it comes to biodegradable plastic-free teabags whether they contain herbal teas or builders.  Inspired by her diligence I decided to do a bit of research myself – this is what I found.

Teabags containing plastic are not only harmful to the environment because they are not biodegradable, but the New Scientist published research results that found a single bag sheds billions (approx. 11.6bn) of particles of microplastic into each cup leaving us unwittingly ingesting plastic at an alarming rate.  Scientists are only just beginning to understand the impact of this on our health and although teabags don’t contain the endocrine disruptors BPA’s, they do contain phalates which can impair fertility by causing an increase in oxidative stress which makes the body produce more molecules of oxygen, then it can handle, i.e. free radicals.  Free radicals are unstable and can cause cell damage causing illness and ageing – not great for sperm and egg development.

There are three areas of teabag crime to be mindful of

  • Paper teabags using plastic glue in the sealant which is non-recyclable or compostable and the
  • Plastic teabags the actual bag is plastic not paper.
  • Plastic leaching out from the bag, into the cup, into the drink, and into the drinker.


Fortunately manufacturers have been addressing this issue over the past few years, some have completely eliminated plastic from all their products, others have done so in some of their products.

Brands which are Plastic Free

Abel and Cole – own brand

Brew Tea Company

Hampstead Tea

We are Tea English Breakfast


Dilmah – organic range

PG Tips

Lipton  – Quality Black and Intense range


Tea Pigs

Twinings – Pyramid range only

Waitrose Dutch Original

Qi Tea

Sainsburys – was due to launch in July 2021


Brands which contain Plastic

Asda own brand

Co-Op own brand 99 but in development and soon to launch plastic free


Tesco own brand -in development

Twining’s – heat sealed and string and tag ranges


Dilmah – except for organic range

Yorkshire Tea – in development

Waitrose own brand Essential Original Blend