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Can teabags be composted?

We have always recommended that gardeners put  used tea bags in their home compost bins but some tea bags leave a plastic web behind once the tea leaves have rotted away.

This is because many tea bags contain a plastic called polypropylene, used to seal the bag. This is not biodegradable so it leaves a residue.
Though you can pick out the plastic mesh from your finished compost, it is a fiddly job and tiny fragments of plastic inevitably break off.
These tiny particles get in to soil and water where they are ingested by micro organisms and tiny animals which are eaten by larger creatures. so the plastic accumulates throughout the food web.
The dangers of these micro plastics are now clear so it is best not to compost tea bags unless you are sure they do not contain any plastic.

Because of these current concerns about plastic in the environment, many tea bags manufacturers are replacing the polypropylene in their tea bags to make them fully biodegradable. By the end of 2018 these brands are supposed to be plastic free: Clipper, Co-op Fairtrade 99, PG Tips eco-friendly pyramid tea bags, Twinings, Yorkshire Tea.

So, you still need to read the small print on the box or buy loose leaved tea.

See Composting Kitchen Waste for more advice or download our leaflet on composting kitchen waste


Composting problem?
 Contact us if you would like us to answer your query. We'll try to give a helpful answer!

This page is sponsored by Scottish Borders Councilsbc logo

More information about recycling can be found on :
 Scottish Borders Council Reduce Reuse Recycle



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