Upcycling with Tea

Everyone is familiar with the three R’s—reduce, reuse, recycle—but there is another way to use waste materials that is even better for the planet and your wallet: upcycling.

Upcycling is the process of creatively repurposing waste or other old items into new products that have an increased environmental and economic value. These unwanted materials never need to go to a recycling center to be broken down; a bit of imagination and elbow grease is all that is needed to get started with upcycling.

The Republic of Tea is committed to environmental responsibility and sustainability, and this extends to our award-winning tea tins and innovative tea bags. We invite every Citizen to reduce waste and enrich their own lives with these creative “upcycling with tea” projects.

Upcycling Tea Bags

The Republic of Tea’s signature round, unbleached tea bags are completely free of unnecessary strings, tags and staples. This unique design allows our tea bags to be safely upcycled in a number of ways:

  • Bury these biodegradable tea bags in your outdoor garden or pot them with your indoor house plants as a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
  • Place cooled tea bags on your eyes as a quick spa treatment. The caffeine will help to banish puffiness and under-eye circles.
  • Reuse your tea bags by adding them to soups, stews or rice while cooking. The tea will add a subtle earthy flavor and may help to tenderize meat.
  • Soak burnt pans in warm water with used tea bags to help remove the burns. You may also use tea bags to gently scrub greasy or burnt pans.
  • Place used tea bags in the back of your refrigerator to soak up bad odors. Tea bags may also be used to deodorize stinky shoes or gym bags—simply allow the tea bag to dry completely before using.

Upcycling Tea Tins

Did you know The Republic of Tea’s specially-designed, airtight tins are made from 30-50% recycled steel? Keep the spirit of sustainability going with these creative ideas for upcycling your used tea tins:

  • Cover your empty tea tins with chalk paint, and use them to store kitchen supplies such as spices, sugar, herbs, granola, cookies, rice or nuts.
  • Use your empty tea tins as planters for growing herbs or flowers. Keeping the original tea labels will give the containers an eclectic, vintage appearance.
  • Upcycle your used tea tins into containers for homemade candles. This project would make a beautiful and thoughtful gift.
  • Wrap your used tea tins with brown butcher’s paper or colorful scrapbook paper. Place them in your office or craft room to store pencils, markers, paint brushes, scissors, crayons, sewing supplies, buttons or glitter.
  • Discreetly store jewelry, personal hygiene products, or other miscellaneous supplies in your empty tea tins.
  • Next time you are running low on your favorite tea, purchase a resealable refill bag and replenish your existing tin, instead of purchasing a brand new tin.

There are truly an unlimited number of ways to upcycle your tea tins and tea bags from The Republic of Tea. Citizens can also experience our line of innovative Root to Petal teas, which utilize upcycled plant ingredients.

Root to Petal Teas

The Republic of Tea is proud to celebrate the spirit of upcycling with Root to Petal Teas. These delightfully sustainable teas use every part of the plant. Nothing is wasted, including harvest by-products such as roots, twigs, stems, leaves and pods.

Root to Petal Cascara Grape Tea blends cascara—the outer husk of coffee beans—with crushed red wine grape skins and biodynamic hibiscus. 

Root to Petal Dandelion Mint Tea makes use of a common garden plant with oft-forgotten wellness benefits and a delicate, refreshing flavor.

Savor the joy of whole-plant sipping, and the knowledge that you are doing something beneficial for the planet. As always, enjoy sip by sip!