The easiest way to show we care for our planet is to reuse and recycle whenever and wherever possible. It’s true today that many tea companies use tea bags that contain or are made of plastics. The good news for ORGANIC INDIA Tulsi tea drinkers is that our tea bags are made from unbleached filter paper, which comes from the cellulose fibre of the Abaca Plant. They’re unbleached, chemical-free & biodegradable, therefore completely safe to compost. Additionally, the tags on the tea bag use soy-based ink. We’ve also invested in new machinery to enable our bags to become staple-free (instead, they are being tied with a cotton thread). You should already be seeing this change if you picked up a box of Tulsi tea today.
This means that our humble Tulsi bag is not a one-use item. In fact, there are many useful ways you can use pre-loved tea bags to care for the environment and save your pocket. So, before you bin the bag, read on…
1. Add to your compost: Keen gardeners know the benefits of keeping a composting heap. Adding used Tulsi tea bags to the pile adds much sought-after nutrients as well as forming an acid-rich compost.
2. Green fingers: Whilst you’re at it, treat outdoor plants to an antifungal treat with a used bag, weak brew. Opening the bag and sprinkling the loose tea around the base of plants will make also make a fertiliser and deter garden pests.
3. Goodbye pests: Talking of pests, if deterring mice is high on your list, a few used tea bags will come in handy. Place used tea bags in problems areas such as a corner of a cupboard or drawer. If you douse the bag in peppermint or clove oil, you’ll keep ants away too as they detest these smells.
4. First aid: Bumps and bruises? Apply a used tea bag to the ouchy area to help the constriction of blood vessels and speed up healing time. If you’re a parent of young kids you’ll know how often these incidences occur. Keep a few used tea bags in the fridge to add a relieving, cool touch.
5. Cuts and scrapes? A used tea bag applied to a minor cut or graze will help to stem the blood flow and accelerate the blood-clotting process.
6. Bathing bliss: When it’s time for you to take a dunk, make the most of the antioxidant qualities of your tea – whether it be herbal or black. You can dangle a used bag in the running water or leave it floating in the bath. The aroma of Tulsi, jasmine and/or chamomile will smell particularly nice and mentally transport you to exotic locations.
7. Soothe sore skin: Tea lovers never travel without their precious bags, especially Tulsi tea lovers as Tulsi tea has been shown to help with jet lag. Once you’ve enjoyed your brew keep hold of the bags. The soothing nature of tea can be used to for minor holiday blips such as treating irritated, sunburnt skin. Wipe a used and cooled tea bag over sore areas. Used tea bags can be also used to draw out bites and stings.
8. Infection fighter: Tulsi tea’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties make it an effective infection fighter – Apply a moist, used bag to cuts and wounds to help draw out impurities. Tulsi tea’s natural ingredients will also help to speed up the healing process.
9. Remove food smells: If you’ve chopped garlic, onions or other strong-smelling foods you can rinse your hands in a weak, used-tea bag solution. The deodorising nature of tea removes odour and leaves you smelling good enough to drink!
10. Foot note: What’s good for your hands is of course, good for your feet. Try adding used tea bags to a foot soak to refresh feet and to help soften the skin.
11. Shine on: Save on buying conditioner and instead, apply a weak used-tea brew after shampooing. Black tea adds shine to hair and brings out colour whilst chamomile, as well as treating hair condition, can enhance fair hair. Rinse tea from hair carefully as black tea will stain.
12. Fresh breath: Freshen breath with used tea bags. A weak brew made from used bags makes a great mouth rinse. Solutions made from green, peppermint and Tulsi tea (it has powerful antifungal properties) work the best.
13. Colour ways: Add an aging effect to paper by dying with used tea bags. Great for making treasure maps for kids’ parties or creating dated letters. Write or draw on the paper before dying and if you want to really make it look old scrunch it up and then flatten it out (make sure to use quality paper that can withstand both scrunching and dunking). Fill a rectangular bowl with water and add used tea bags – try different kinds. When you achieve your desired colour add your paper and if needed hold it down with stones. Leave until you have a colour you like (be prepared to experiment with timings and expect varying results depending on teas used).
14. Revive your clothes: Why stop at paper? You can use pre-loved tea bags to make a dye solution for cloth (a great chemical-free solution for stained tea-cloths). Add used bags (a lot) to a bucket/saucepan of water and steep until you produce a desired colour. Put your clean and damp cloth into the bucket and leave to soak for at least an hour and possibly overnight. Rinse off with cold water and vinegar to retain colour.
15. Goodbye rust: Cast iron cookware? Prevent potential rust with used tea bags. If you wipe the inside of the pan with a used, damp teabag you coat it with tannins and prevent the formation of rust.
16. Make the wood work: While you’re busy making improvements to the home, why not give the woodwork a thorough cleaning? Use a weak used tea bag solution on woodwork to reveal colour and grain. This solution can be used on flooring and furniture.
17. Rise and shine: Polish up your act with the humble used tea bag. A weak, used tea bag solution can be applied and wiped on glass such as windows, table tops and mirrors. It’s particularly good at removing marks and prints. Wipe thoroughly to reveal sparkling surfaces.
18. Sweet smelling: Forget expensive carpet deodorisers. Stash used tea bags in the fridge until needed and when you are in the mood to do some serious vacuuming open the bags and allow the tea to dry out until it is damp. Sprinkle the tea on the carpet and rugs, wait until it has dried and then vacuum them up. Mixing black and herbal teas will create a lovely aroma.
19. Littered with uses: Take the nasty whiff out of rubbish bins and cat litter trays with used tea bags. Place used bags at the bottom of rubbish bags to neutralise smells and sprinkle tea in cat litter trays to remove odour.
20. Brew-tiful: Finally, drink tea with used tea bags! It may sound obvious but many people throw away a bag after one use. If you like strong tea keep a used bag in a cup and add a new one. Or, for a weaker brew, reuse the tea bag. The flavour of herbal teas seems to last particularly well.
As mentioned, ORGANIC INDIA tea bags are completely safe to compost. An important tip from our readers is that it’s best to remove the string from the tea bags. While the string can be composted, it can be dangerous for birds who get their feet trapped in the string. Have you tried any of these tea bag re-uses? Or do you have another use that you would love to share?