How to Compost Tea Leaves
March 19, 2021
If you enjoy a nice cuppa on a regular basis, you may have wondered if there is anything you can do with those steeped tea leaves and tea bags other than tossing them in the trash. Fortunately, there is: add them to your compost heap or garden.
Composting your used tea leaves is one of the most environmentally-friendly tea habits you can adopt to benefit the health and wellness of the natural world. Adding your used tea bags to your compost bin or garden is a wonderful “green” way to dispose of them, with the added benefit of boosting the health of your plants.
Why Tea Leaves Are Great for Composting
Steeped tea bags and leaves are an excellent source of organic material for your compost bin. Tea leaves are naturally rich in nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus and nitrogen, which can help counterbalance the carbon-rich materials in your compost heap.
Adding steeped tea bags to your compost can help maintain moisture levels, and increase the speed of decomposition. Steeped tea leaves may also help to boost oxygen levels, making it a more inviting environment for earthworms.
No compost pile? You may also use steeped tea to enrich your garden by spreading loose tea leaves on the ground near the base of your plants, or by burying tea bags in the soil.
Can Tea Bags Be Composted?
Yes, you can add tea bags to your compost bin or garden — with an important caveat. Before composting your tea bags, it is important to ensure that they are made from biodegradable materials.
An estimated 20-30% of tea bags on the market are composed of polypropylene, which is not compostable. Your tea bags should also be completely free of materials that could be harmful to the earth.
The Republic of Tea’s signature round tea bags are made from unbleached tea paper with no chlorine-containing compounds and are free of excess wrapping, strings, tags and staples. This means you may add them directly to your compost bin or garden after steeping.
If you are unsure whether or not your tea bags are compostable, it is recommended to cut open the bag and empty the contents into the pile, then discard the bag in the trash.
How to Compost Steeped Tea Bags & Leaves
- After steeping your tea, remove the loose tea leaves or compostable tea bag from the pot or cup and set them aside. If you have a compost bin or bucket in your kitchen for storing food waste before composting, you can place the steeped tea there.
- Allow steeped tea bags or leaves to cool completely.
- Dump the steeped tea leaves or compostable bags into your outdoor compost pile.
For tea drinkers, composting with tea is an easy and effective way to contribute to your compost bin and support the wellbeing of your plants — every time you sip, you will have more to add to your pile.