Monday, Jan 30, 2023

4 reasons your green tea bag may be hazardous to the environment

Read the label of your green tea bags and go for ones that are biodegradable, free from plastic and made with plant-based materials

"Make sure your tea bag is free of epichlorohydrin," suggests Bhatia. (Photo: Pixabay)

We all have heard about the numerous benefits of green tea, but did you know that green tea bags can be harmful to the environment? Sundeip Bhatia, business head, Shilpa Medicare says, “Last September, researchers at McGill University, Canada had analysed the effects of placing four different commercial tea bags into boiling water. They found that a single bag releases around 11.6 billion microplastic particles, and 3.1 billion even smaller nano plastic particles, into the cup. This is way higher than the amount of plastic previously found in other foods and drinks.”

Contrary to popular belief that green tea bags are made from tea and paper, they are instead packed using nylon, rayon and even polypropylene which is hazardous to our health. 

Here are 4 reasons why its time to stop using green tea bags 

Contain less EGCG content

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EGCG refers to Epigallocatechin gallate, a chemical that gives green tea its antioxidant properties and aids weight loss. EGCG is considerably less in black tea because it is either partially or fully oxidised, but “a study conducted by OLIVEIRA in 2012 confirmed a low level of ECGG present in marketed tea bags. The study confirmed the presence of 1.09 to 2.29mg of ECGC in each green tea bag which is very less to produce the therapeutic antioxidant activity,” shares Bhatia.

READ| Know about the dos and don’ts of drinking green tea

Contains dust and fannings

The tea leaves present in teabags are very small because their packaging process includes chopping, slicing and dicing the leaves into small particles. These particles range from 0.2 to 1.5 millimetres which, in turn, produces a lot of dust. Bhatia says, “As a result of all this slicing and dicing, the tea compounds interact with moisture and oxygen, leading to rapid quality loss.”

READ| Do you know these facts about green tea?

Harmful for the environment 

Teabags are made up of plastic, as a result of which they don’t get decomposed and act as a threat to the environment. “According to the Environmental Audit Committee, tea bags are a major source for polluting our water system due to the non-recyclable components,” shares Bhatia. He adds, “make sure your tea bag is free of epichlorohydrin, a chemical some manufacturers add to prevent the bags from breaking down quickly.”


The stapled bit of the tea bag is not good for you

Have you noticed how the string of your tea bag is stapled to a thin string? When you frequently dip the bag into the cup of water, “the staple pin can lend a slight metallic taste to the tea,” points out Bhatia. This not only is dangerous but also ruins the efficacy of the tea.

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First published on: 30-09-2020 at 10:50 IST
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