Hello! I am Jinal Shah, your Vice President Equity and Inclusion. As you may or may not be aware of Go Green Week which started on Monday 8th March and is ending this Friday 12th March.
I have written this article to raise awareness of tea bags containing plastic.
The UK drinks over 100 million mugs of tea every day but what do our teabags really contain? Is the humble cuppa hiding a source of plastic pollution? BBC found a number of big brands contained "non-biodegradable plastic which will probably survive in the environment for hundreds or thousands of years". Anita Rani and Andrew Mayes, senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia have done an experiment where she has put all the major tea brands for experiment to see how much they contain plastic.
Something that is interesting is that clipper teabags have got this big sign at the top where it says: "A hundred unbleached plastic-free bags of Fairtrade everyday tea", but does it mean that all the other teabags contain plastic? To find out, the University of East Anglia offered to conduct tests on six of Britain’s biggest tea brands where each teabag was placed in copper ammonia solution for 5 days, this dissolves any material, apart from plastic. Clipper, PG Tips and Pukka pass clearly through the sieve, showing they degrade and break down easily but for Twinings, Tetley and Yorkshire Tea have got a lot of plastic in it. Further tests prove they all contain a plastic called polypropylene which is non-biodegradable plastic which probably will survive in the environment for hundreds, thousands of years. Anita contacted all the companies that contain plastic, and they all replied that they will switch to fully biodegradable materials by the end of 2020. But do read the ingredients behind the tea box before buying.
Little is known about the health implications of ingesting plastic particles, although some scientists believe the build-up of plastic in our bodies over years could have serious consequences for our immune system and gut health. Scientists have revealed micro plastic pollution in everything from the air we breathe, to the fibres in our clothes and yes, the tea we drink. A 2019 study suggested humans could be ingesting 39,000 to 52,000 micro plastic particles a year. Add to that the number of micro plastics we inhale, and the total looks more like 74,000 particles a year.