Nylon tea bags?

Straight from the “you can’t be serious department” is this news – nylon tea bags increasingly appearing on supermarket shelves and proponents hoping that these will totally replace the traditional paper mesh bags soon.

These petroleum-based tea bags are not biodegradable – they’ll take many, many years to break down.

In the UK alone, 165 million cups of tea are consumed every day according to this article. 96% of those brews are made with tea bags. So, if the nylon tea bag brigade gets their way and their environmental monstrosity does replace paper-mesh bags:

96% of 165 million = 158,400,000 nylon bags a day
x 365 = 57,816,000,000 nylon bags a year

57.8 billion extra nylon bags to be disposed of in just one country every year?

However these are disposed of, they will cause problems – in landfill they’ll leach toxic chemicals into the soil and groundwater. If they wind up in waterways; bird and aquatic animals will consume them which can clog up their digestive systems and cause starvation. During my days as a professional fisherman, I found plastic items in the stomachs of tuna and sharks quite often. On top of all that, these will just be another eyesore present in landscapes already littered with plastic bags and other garbage.

Additionally, while the nylon tea bag supposedly provides a better tasting cup of tea; there have been no long-term studies on the effects of drinking tea that have made using these bags. Consumers may be getting more than just the tea.

I certainly don’t begrudge people wanting a nice cup of tea – but there’s other ways to achieve a good cuppa without having to add this extra burden to an environment already in crisis. I’m simply astounded that in this day and age of corporate social responsibility and supposed environmental awareness in industry that companies should *introduce* such a product to the market; it’s totally irresponsible.

If the thought of nylon tea bags disturbs you too; write to the company who makes your favorite brand, ask them if they are introducing these bags or already using them; and if they will/are – tell them how you feel about it and why. Perhaps threaten to switch brands? If you’d rather approach this as a group action, set up an online campaign using a service such as ThePoint – petitions with teeth :).