The UK drinks approximately 100 million cups of tea daily, proving that there’s nothing quite like a good brew.
But it’s not just flavour that makes a good quality cuppa. Ethics and environmental impact are just as important.
From carbon negative teas to a social enterprise employing refugees, pebble has rounded up 5 of the best eco-friendly tea brands that are bringing positive change to the nation’s favourite drink.
Did we mention that a bunch of them offer plastic-free tea bags?
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Quick links to pebble’s fave eco-friendly teas
Why eco-friendly tea matters
According to a report by the UN, the tea industry is a main source of income for emerging economies. It also has the potential to provide sustainable jobs for workers in disadvantaged areas.
However, in most tea-growing countries, farmers and pluckers remain marginalised and poor.
Research by the University of Sheffield in 2018 found that exploitation and forced labour are widespread in the global tea supply chain.
Workers are subject to routine abuse and they’re forced to live far below the poverty line due to low wages.
For example, tea workers’ wages in India were reported to be as low as 25% of the poverty line amount.
After all that, some deceptively harmless tea bags contain polypropylene, a form of plastic.
This means microplastics leach into your freshly brewed cup of tea and into the environment when you throw the tea bag out.
Eco-friendly and ethical tea brands consider their impact right from the supply chain through to the discarded tea bag.
They’re plastic free, climate positive and pay workers a fair wage. And the best bit? You don’t miss out on good quality tea either.
So, add some positive change to your cuppa with these top 5 eco-friendly teas.
5 Of The Best Eco-Friendly Teas For A Better Brew
1. Best ethical tea: Teatulia
Premium tea brand, Teatulia is the largest organic tea brand in Bangladesh. What sets it apart from other brands is that it grows all tea itself rather than buying leaves in bulk at auction from suppliers.
Every leaf in every blend you buy comes directly from the Teatulia Garden in Tetulia, Bangladesh which has been in operation for nearly two decades.
The garden has transformed the previously arid scrubland into a lush haven for animals and plant life.
The pebble team particularly likes that Teatulia puts women at the centre of its business.
Mostly female employees grow tea and herbs using low-intensity natural farming methods. They’re paid good wages, are supported by cooperatives and their families are provided with healthcare and education.
Teatulia has an extensive range of tea blends such as black, white, green and everything in between so it’s ideal for those who like a bit of variety.
Pros: Supports female workers in poor communities | Provides families with healthcare and education | Tea is directly sourced from Teatulia’s own garden | Plastic free tea bags
Cons: Expensive in comparison to other competitors
Teatulia tea prices start from £5.50 for a box of 20 tea bags or £8.50 for 30-80g loose leaf tea. Visit Teatulia here.
2. Best social enterprise tea: NEMI Teas
NEMI Teas offers a variety of ethically sourced tea blends in loose leaf and tea bag form. All tea bags are plastic free, the packaging is biodegradable and teas are certified Organic, Fairtrade and approved by the Rainforest Alliance.
NEMI Teas has made it to pebble’s top 5 because it’s more than just a London-based tea brand. It’s a social enterprise focused on providing employment opportunities and job readiness skills to refugees.
Teas are hand-blended, hand packaged and sold in markets across the UK by refugees. You can also buy teas online.
Popular tea blends include a robust English Breakfast and a balanced Spicy Chai both from Assam, India, and a delicate Green Tea from China.
Pros: A social enterprise that supports refugees | Plastic free | Pretty packaging can be reusable
Cons: Expensive | pebble would like to see more transparency about suppliers
NEMI Teas start from £4.75. Browse online here.
3. Best carbon negative tea: Greenypeeps
Say hello to Greenypeeps, the world’s first carbon negative tea and infusion range.
The secret to the brand’s achievement is its partnership with the Carbon Consulting Company which allows it to analyse the carbon footprint of each product at every stage.
Greenypeeps can then review all current practices and remove over twice the carbon that each product produces for a net positive impact on the planet.
So, what’s the tea? Blends include herbal infusions in ethical tea bags.
Choose between Energising tea, Revitalising tea, After Dinner Tea and a Calming Bedtime tea. All teas are organic, plastic free and home compostable or recyclable.
Another reason pebble loves Greenypeeps is it’s committed 3% of all sales to the Hiniduma Biolink programme in Southern Sri Lanka.
The project works with smallholder farmers to address rural poverty whilst conserving Sri Lanka’s last remaining rainforests.
Pros: Carbon negative | organic | Percentage of sales go to charity | High quality
Cons: Expensive in comparison to other competitors
Each tea is sold in a pack of 15 pyramid bags for £4.30. Shop Greenypeeps now.
4. Best budget-friendly tea: Clipper
If you’re looking for reliable Fairtrade, Organic and biodegradable tea bag brands at an affordable price, you can’t go wrong with Clipper.
You know you’re sipping sustainably as the brand is accredited by both Soil Association and Fairtrade Foundation. All ingredients are sourced ethically from suppliers that pay a fair wage and protect the environment.
In 2018, Clipper was the first major tea brand to switch to plant-based, biodegradable, non-GM and unbleached tea bags. No plastic here.
Since then, it’s made a commitment to ensure that none of its products contain anything artificial.
pebble’s favourite blend is Clipper’s Restoring Roots Tea. Ideal for herbal tea enthusiasts, it has an invigorating combination of fiery ginger, warming turmeric with a twist of black pepper.
Pros: Certified Fairtrade and organic | unbleached and plastic free tea bags | Affordable prices
Cons: Still a little more expensive than major competitors
Clipper Restoring Roots Tea starts from £1.87. Shop now here.
5. Best loose leaf tea: NUDITEA
The pebble team is particularly impressed with NUDITEA’s environmental ethos as a startup. Although it hasn’t yet reached a Fairtrade or Organic status, the brand sources all ingredients from trusted and ethical suppliers.
Plus, all tea packaging is 100% plastic free and compostable. Any other packaging elements are either recycled or recyclable.
Perfect for tea drinkers who like a little more oomph to their brew, blends include tongue-in-cheek classics such as Breakfast in the Buff and Fifty Shades of Earl.
There are also herbal infusions including Roseberry Fling and limited edition Spiced Toffee Apple.
Pros: Interesting blends | Plastic free | eco tea bags and loose leaf | High quality blends
Cons: Not certified organic or fairtrade | pebble would like to see more transparency on suppliers
Teas start from £3.00. Browse the NUDITEA shop here.
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