Updated: Jan 22
(Disclaimer: this post is not sponsored by, or affiliated with, any of the brands featured.)
I LOVE a hot drink. Especially when its cold outside, but honestly I’m here for them all year round. When I’m working from home, I chain drink tea like nobody’s business, and when I’m out and about there’s nothing I love more than a latte (or ever better, a beetroot latte or dirty chai) to give me a bit of a caffeine boost. Which is why I’m so happy to see lots of brands choosing to create sustainable options, so that we can enjoy our hot drinks guilt-free.
What‘s the tea
For years, we’ve been told that teabags are perfectly safe to put in our compost and food waste bins, but more recently it’s me to light that the majority of teabags on the high street contain plastic in their lining. This means that they’re not 100% safe to biodegrade, and it’s also not very comforting to think of tiny particles of plastic seeping into your drink. The good news is, more and more companies are choosing to ditch this plastic lining. Pukka Herbs, PG Tips and Teapigs are some of the most widely available brands with plastic-free bags.
Another option is to choose loose-leaf tea, such as this delicious “Hoity Toi-tea” blend that I purchased from Switch Espresso at the weekend. Buying loose-leaf means even less packaging; you just need a strainer, which you’ll find in lots of cookware stores and most places that you can buy loose-leaf teas. I chose this tea brand in particular because they’re based here in New Zealand (in Christchurch, actually!), and because I thought the packaging was going to be entirely biodegradable. After opening it up, however, I was sad to find a thin plastic layer inside the paper bag, which I imagine is to stop any kind of moisture reaching the tea in transit. On the plus side, as I mentioned above, this is still much less packaging than buying individually-bagged tea.
The wide-spread use of coffee pods doesn’t spell great tings for the environment. Yes, they’re convenient, but they’re certainly not sustainable. Luckily, there are so many other options available for your home-brewed caffeine fix. Whether you prefer to buy the beans and grind the, yourself, or go pre-ground, the best way to make sure your choice is a sustainable one is to look for mixes with recyclable or biodegradable packaging, and brands that source their coffee ethically. Certifications such as UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and Direct Trade all signify that workers are being treated fairly (you can read more about that on Ethical Unicorn‘s post here). If you can’t find recyclable/biodegradable packaging options, the next best thing you can do is to buy in bulk as much as possible, meaning you’ll need to buy less frequently.
I found this beetroot latte mix from Moa Bakery, Cakery while we were in Oamaru last weekend, and couldn’t resist it. We were drawn to their wonderful range of dairy-free, gluten-free products (and may have picked up a could of cakes too). Their packaging was also entirely recyclable or biodegradable.
For both tea and coffee, buying entirely packaging-free is also becoming much more readily available in many towns and cities. When we were in Cardiff, I bought all of my tea and coffee zero-waste from the brilliant Ripple Living. The idea is super simple, you need is some kind of reusable jar or container that you can take along and fill up! I’m still searching for somewhere similar here in Christchurch - if you have any suggestions, please send the, my way!
On the go
I don’t think it really needs saying by now, but reusable cups and flasks are where it’s at. They look great, and they eradicate the need for single-use cups completely. What’s not to love?!
James and I found these Frank Green cups in Shut The Front Door, and we love them. Made from stainless steel a ceramic lining, they’re beautifully designed with a spill-proof lid (which is great if you want to put it in your bag, or if you’re clumsy like me).