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Can I Compost Tea and tea bags?

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tea bagsYes, you can compost loose tea and some tea bags – but it depends on the type.

Loose tea leaves will compost down quickly – the clue is in the “leaves” bit of the name! Stir them into the heap to make sure they don’t get blown around or, if you’ve got a lot of them, they don’t form a suffocating layer on the top of the heap (since they’re small, they can quickly cut off the air flow).

However, tea bags are more complicated because the “bag” is made up of different things, depending on the company.

While some brands use entirely natural fibres in the tea bags, many of the main brands (especially those that have “heat sealed” edges) use synthetic fibres – and they don’t rot down. You’re left with lots of little white sacks in your compost, or the natural fibres of the bag break down and leave tiny synthetic fibres mixed into your compost instead.

If you’re concerned about introducing synthetic fibres (typically polypropylene) into your compost heap, you can either avoid composting your teabags, or empty out the tea into the compost & bin the bag separately. If you’re happy with the little fibres though, you can compost the teabags as normal, and just pluck out the little bags that remain after everything else has composted down.

Tea bags that are folded and stapled closed as usually fine to compost – though it is recommended to remove the staple (which won’t compost) and sometimes the string & label too, depending on what they’re made from.


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