Make a Zero Waste Cup of Tea With the Best Reusable Tea Bags
For the longest time, I never thought twice about the tea bags I was using to make my morning cup of tea. But then I learned that many tea bags are made with plastic, and this plastic can leach chemicals when exposed to hot water. That’s when I made the switch to reusable tea bags.
Of course, there are so many different types of reusable tea bags available, you might not know which one you should use. Fortunately, this guide can help.
We’ll go over the important reasons why you should switch and the different types of reusable options you have available so you can pick the best reusable tea bags to suit all of your tea-drinking needs.
Why Should I Buy Reusable Tea Bags?
As previously mentioned, even your tea bag isn’t safe from plastic anymore. Some brands make their entire tea bag out of plastic, while others use plastic to seal the tea bag together.
Not only can these plastics release harmful chemicals when they soak in hot water, but one study found that just one plastic tea bag can release 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nano plastics into a cup of tea.
To make sure you’re not drinking carcinogenic chemicals and microplastics the next time you enjoy a cup of tea, you simply need to pick up some loose leaf tea and one of these best reusable tea bags.
If you don’t have a local tea shop and you’re not sure where to purchase loose leaf tea, you can buy it online.
Thrive Market is one of my favorite online shops to find affordable organic food, including organic loose leaf tea. Their regeneratively grown loose leaf tea is available in multiple varieties, including black tea, white tea, and green tea.
The tea is grown in a way that minimizes greenhouse gases, conserves water, and promotes biodiversity.
For a limited time, you can get 30% OFF your first order and a FREE gift when you join Thrive Market. So make sure you sign up today!
To ensure your cup of tea is as safe and clean as possible, you can also get this non-toxic tea kettle. This durable stainless steel tea kettle is constructed with non-toxic materials to keep your boiled water free of harmful chemicals.
It also features a non-toxic coating that’s free of PTFEs, and it works on all types of stovetops, including electric, induction, and gas.
Basket Steepers vs. Ball Steepers vs. Cotton Steepers
When you’re picking out the best reusable tea bag, you have three main choices: basket steepers, ball steepers, and cotton steepers.
Basket steepers sit on top of your mug, and you pour hot water over them to make your tea.
As the name suggests, ball steepers are in the shape of a ball. You add the tea to the ball and let it rest in your mug like a regular tea bag.
Cotton steepers most closely resemble traditional tea bags and are shaped like tea bags. You add your tea inside and let it steep in warm water like usual.
What Is the Best Reusable Tea Bag?
Now that you know why it’s important to switch to a reusable tea bag and what type of styles are available, you’re probably ready to pick out one that you can start using right away.
Take a look at this collection of the best reusable tea bags to learn more about what each one offers. Then you can easily decide which one will best suit your needs.
1. CoffeeSock Reusable Tea Filter
CoffeeSock might be known for its reusable coffee filters, but it also makes a fantastic reusable tea bag. This tea filter is handmade in the United States using GOTS certified organic cotton.
Since it’s made from organic cotton, it requires less water, pesticides, and energy to grow than conventional cotton. Not only is this better for the environment, but it’s also better for the farmers and better for your health! You can be sure no nasty chemicals will leach into your tea when you use it.
To use, simply fill the reusable tea bag with your favorite type of loose leaf tea. It works perfectly with any type of tea, including black, white, green, rooibos, and more.
Immerse the bag in hot water, and let it steep for the desired amount of time. When you’re done making your tea, empty the leaves into your compost bin, rinse the reusable tea bag, and let it hang to dry.
You get two reusable filters that will each make around 500 cups of tea. When they reach the end of their useful life, you can simply compost them.
You can get the CoffeeSock reusable tea filter from EarthHero, which is one of the best online shops to get all of your eco-friendly essentials shipped right to your door without any plastic packaging. If you decide to order from EarthHero, be sure to use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to enjoy 10% off your order!
2. Simple Ecology Tea Bags
If you’re looking for another great reusable tea bag option that works similarly to traditional tea bags, check out these Simple Ecology organic cotton tea bags.
Simple Ecology has all types of reusable straining bags available, including a coffee set and a nutmilk set. The tea set works best for tea drinkers because it includes two small straining bags that are the perfect size for making a cup of tea.
The tea bags are made from all-natural, sustainable GOTS certified organic cotton muslin fabric. Thanks to the durable construction, the bags will last for years and won’t rip or burst while you’re using them.
However, since the bags are biodegradable, you can compost them when they reach the end of their useful life.
To use the tea bag, simply add your loose leaf tea inside, pull the drawstring close, and place the bag in a mug of hot water. Let the tea steep for however long you want, and then pull the bag out. Dump the tea leaves in your compost bin, rinse out your tea bag, and let it air-dry.
3. Fu Store Tea Ball
If you would prefer a reusable tea bag not made from cotton, this Fu Store Tea Ball is the ideal solution. It’s made from heat-resistant stainless steel with an aluminum rivet.
This type of reusable tea bag is durable, easy to use, and even easier to clean.
To use one, open it up and add your loose leaf tea to one side of the ball. Close the ball and use the clasp to ensure it stays shut.
Since your tea leaves will expand when they get wet, adding them to just one side of the ball ensures enough space for water to flow around for better flavor.
Place the tea ball in a mug of hot water and let it steep for the desired amount of time. The tea ball comes with a metal chain and hook so it can easily hang on the side of your mug as it steeps.
Once your tea is done steeping, open the tea ball and empty the contents into your compost bin. You can then use a biodegradable soap to clean the ball, and let it dry before putting it away.
Since the tea ball is made from stainless steel, it’s designed to last a lifetime and makes it incredibly easy to enjoy a zero waste cup of tea.
It’s important to note that the tea ball doesn’t work well for small loose leaf tea since the pieces can fall right through the holes in the mesh. If you prefer small or finely ground tea, you’ll be better off with the cotton reusable tea bags.
4. Reusable Tea Strainer Basket
This reusable tea strainer basket works similarly to the tea ball. However, the basket can hold a larger amount of tea compared to the tea ball. This is ideal for times when you want to make a cup of tea with a stronger flavor.
It has handles on both sides that help the basket rest on your mug and make it easier for you to lift the basket out when it’s done steeping.
Like other options on this list of the best reusable tea bags, it’s unbelievably easy to use. Simply scoop your loose tea leaves into the basket, rest it over your mug, and pour hot water into the mug.
Let your tea steep for the desired amount of time, and then use the handles to lift the basket out and empty the tea leaves into your compost.
The basket is made of food-grade stainless steel, so you never have to worry about your tea having a metallic taste. This also means the basket will never rust and it’s dishwasher safe, which makes it super easy to clean!
Best of all, this tea basket will ship right to your house without any plastic packaging and one tree is planted with every purchase.
While this tea strainer is designed with fine mesh, it’s important to note that just like the tea ball, finely ground tea leaves can slip through.
5. OXO Twisting Tea Ball
This OXO Twisting Tea Ball is a unique alternative to the tea ball with a chain because the handle makes it very easy to stir your tea. It’s also amazingly simple to use.
Just twist the handle to open the ball, scoop up the desired amount of loose leaf tea, and then twist the handle again to close the ball. Place it ball side down in your mug, add hot water, and let it steep.
When you’re done making your cup of tea, simply remove the tea ball, twist the handle to empty the tea into your compost, and clean your tea ball. It’s even dishwasher safe!
The soft, non-slip grip makes it easy to stir the tea for better infusion. Plus, the long, stainless steel neck fits in pretty much every size mug and ensures you’ll never have to fish out the tea ball from the bottom of the mug.
Again, the tea ball works best with whole-leaf teas. You’ll want to use a cotton tea bag for small or finely ground teas.
Additionally, you can feel good knowing your purchase is making a difference. That’s because OXO is a proud member of 1% for the Planet and donates 1% of its annual sales to support environmental nonprofits.
How to Clean Reusable Tea Bags
One advantage of using a reusable tea bag is that they’re incredibly easy to clean. Most of the time, a quick rinse with water and some soap is all you need.
About once or twice a month, you can boil the reusable cotton tea bags in fresh water for about 10 minutes to remove buildup and thoroughly clean the bags.
If you happen to add milk or cream to your mug while the tea bag is still in there, I recommend washing the bag with some soap to help prevent mold or odors from developing.
You can leave the tea bag out, or you can store it in the refrigerator to help stop bacteria spores from multiplying.
How to Dispose of Used Tea Bags
If you still have some disposable tea bags in your cabinets and you don’t want to waste them, you might be wondering how to properly dispose of them. Unless you know for sure your tea bags don’t contain any plastic, you shouldn’t toss the entire thing in your compost bin.
Any plastic in these tea bags won’t breakdown, and you’ll eventually end up contaminating your own garden with microplastics.
Instead, open up the tea bags and compost only the loose leaf tea. You should then dispose of the bag in the trash.
If your cotton reusable tea bags reach the end of their useful life, you can safely toss those in your compost pile. Stainless steel tea diffusers should last a lifetime. However, if you have one that becomes unusable, most local recycling centers will accept them.
Enjoy Healthier Tea With the Best Reusable Tea Bags
Microplastics and dangerous chemicals are the last things you want in your cup of tea. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid the plastic found in conventional tea bags and enjoy a zero waste cup of tea when you make the switch to the best reusable tea bags.
Even More Helpful Eco-Friendly Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about the best reusable tea bags? Are you interested in discovering even more tips that can help you live a more sustainable life? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:
- How to Pack a Zero Waste Lunch in 7 Easy Steps
- The Best Herbs to Grow in Your Indoor Herb Garden
- A Meat-Lover’s Guide on How to Become a Vegetarian
- 4 Simple Steps to Start a Zero Waste Meal Plan