Zero Waste

Getting Loose

I had never even considered that our tea bags had anything to do with plastic but alas I’ve come to learn that they’re sealed with plastic – unless you’re buying the pyramid bags.


I “think” you can still compost your tea bags but I don’t think the tea bag will decompose properly.

A long time ago we swapped over from the Nespresso pods (these pods will take forever and ever to decompose) to beans, and with a grinder we bought, we now only plunge our coffee. The used grinds we pour over our flowerbeds after each use. I am not sure – but a friend of mine mentioned that throwing loose tea into flower beds may kill some flowers – so I’d just look into that a little – but for now my grinds and leaves have been going into a soil patch.

I’ve now bought loose Ceylon Tea, the box can go for recycling and the tin foil has gone into my “ecobrick collection box thingy majig” I have, until I get an empty 2l coke bottle from the side of the road (we don’t drink soft drinks at home).

Loose Tea and Strainer
Drop Coffee Grinds In Flowerbed

Up until recently I’ve been buying a 1kg bag of the beans from Woolies but the packaging is not recyclable at all – I guess by buying in bulk it’s not buying smaller more often but, it still isn’t what we want on this journey.

My Woolies Bedford has these beautiful looking gold bulk bean dispensers – to my serious disappointment – those are all for show. I merrily trotted along with my tin (wrongfully) assuming that I could have my tin filled. They pre-pack the beans according to weight in their own (NON) recyclable packaging that looks like paper but inside is a plastic breathing hole thingy and silver lining. After I asked for the manager, the barista proceeded to empty a packet into my tin, printed a new sticker and when I asked if she’d refill the packet she’d just emptied she said no she couldn’t … waste fail of note.
I spoke to the manager on duty when I was paying but I don’t think anything I said made sense. I really need to target higher up. In the meantime I’ve not had my own beans for 2 weeks now! And all I know is that I can get from Bean There in Milpark – long fricken trek for beans ek se🤦‍♀️.

Defo part of my product range in my bulk boutique store one day – loose teas and coffee beans.

FYI – The Tea and Coffee Emporium in Bedford did mention to me that the loose beans didn’t retain flavour and a lot were being wasted because not enough were being bought… seems we need to change that!

Gold Coffee Bean Dispensers
Packaged Beans into Tin

Until next time…

waste less • refuse more

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Comments (3)
  1. Lisa 1 year ago

    Hi Collette,
    When I started with my compost tumblers (your sister will fill you in), I was hesitant to just toss in tea bags. I dutifully tore them open to empty the tea leaves into it and then put the bags in my general trash bin. Then I got adventurous and started to toss the whole teabag in. Boom! Decomposes and composts perfectly and quickly. I haven’t found a trace of a bag. We’re mostly on rooibos here (Freshpak) and they seem totally fine for composting.

    As far as I know it is only those herbal teas with the silky bags that don’t breakdown. I haven’t tried it personally so I don’t know for sure.


    • Colette Plaska 1 year ago

      Thanks for your comment!

    • Colette Plaska 1 year ago

      Hi Lisa,

      Hope you get this message – I went looking for loose tea today as mine finally finished. At the store I noticed that “ceylon” were in teabags. On both the Joko and 5 Roses boxes for loose tea it doesn’t say ceylon… so I may be wrong that the loose tea is ceylon 🙁 it doesn’t say what it is actually just quality leaves… I will try looking at The Tea Merchant and Tea Houses to see if they sell loose ceylon teas.


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