Use tea to be “green” all year round.

Tea leaves and tea bags ready for the compost pile.

Earth Day is not meant to be the only day we take care of our world, it’s a reminder that we should be responsible stewards of the gift of natural resources all the time. San Jose ordinances now require all of the shops in town to provide re-usable tote bags (for sale) instead of one-use plastic bags (for free), but many San Jose residents are looking for more convenient and less expensive ways of helping the environment. Here are some ways Bay Area tea-drinkers can be “green,” easily and cheaply:

  1. Recycle used tea leaves or tea bag (remove any metal staples) as compost for the garden or yard. It is especially appropriate for a tea herb garden, but flowers and vegetables appreciate the mulch, too. Tea’s natural acidity will remain in the mulch, so check the plant label to see if each plant prefers acidic garden soil.
  2. Choose loose tea or tea portioned in paper mesh bags, rather than nylon mesh bags, which are petroleum products and don’t break down quickly.
  3. Drink your tea out of a reusable travel mug or cup, rather than a disposable container.
  4. Drink organically grown, Fair Trade tea. Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Rishi Tea, Honest Tea, and Republic of Tea are some locally-popular tea vendors who specialize in organic, Fair Trade tea. Most American tea companies have a policy of environmental stewardship and preservation; check the website of your favorite tea companies to see what they’re doing.
  5. Use leftover tea as a natural cleaning product: it’s mild acidity cuts grease on unpainted woodwork, tile, and other non-porous household surfaces. Rinse with plain water afterwards, to prevent staining.

These are easy, inexpensive ways to make sure that your cup of tea is as good for the environment as it is good for your body.  Of course, many tea vendors also hold special Earth Day sales!  While Earth Day only comes to San Jose once a year, these are things that tea-drinkers can do all the time to help preserve our natural resources.

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

Like what you read? Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my blog, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea!

For more information:
“Earth Day SJ to Feature Street Fair, Speakers, Performances”
“Earth Day Events in the Bay Area”
“The Month Ahead: April 2012 tea events in San Jose”
“Review: Amandine Decanter by Teavana”
“Review: Mobile Teapot from Village Tea Company”
“Review: Orange Blossom 100% White Tea from The Republic of Tea”
“What are the different kinds of green tea available in San Jose?”
“The top 10 ways to recycle your tea and used tea leaves”
“Earth Day tea sales: Teatulia, The Tea Spot, Teas, Etc., Rishi, Two Leaves and a Bud”
“Tea-tasting San Jose area destinations: Peet’s Coffee & Tea downtown San Jose”
“Review: tea tasting at Peet’s Coffee & Tea’s downtown San Jose store”
“The Environment” from The Republic of Tea website
“The Bigelow Tea Commitment to the Environment” from the Bigelow Tea website
“The Great Recycle 2012: a project by Honest Tea”
“Tea and the environment”
“Nylon tea bags?”
“Give tea time a human face”
“The Art of Composting: Recycling your teabags” 
“Green innovations: 12 ways to recycle used tea leaves”
“Reusing or Resteeping Tea Leaves” 
San Jose Beautiful program
SJSU Sustainability Week
Bay Area Fair Trade Coalition


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Filed under Health, Tips, Vendors and Shops

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