Normally, you might have thrown them in the bin because they’ve done their job and are now useless, right? Not quite! Brewed tea can still serve a purpose, and in fact, can be used to perform quite a wide range of household applications.
Hopefully today we can convince you to keep hold of your used tea by answering some of the most frequently asked questions on the internet about how to dispose of loose leaf tea and tea bags. Enjoy!
Can you put tea leaves down the sink?
Whatever you do, do not pour your tea leaves down the sink! Tea leaves can block sinks when they build up in your drain over time.
To avoid running into problems down the line, we advise that you remove as much of your tea leaves as you can before cleaning your infusers in the sink.
You should also try and do this quite quickly after you have made your cup of loose leaf tea and enjoyed your beverage. Of course, don’t rush and forget to enjoy your drink, but the longer you leave your brewed tea to sit in your infuser the more chance you have of staining it. This means more effort scrubbing it clean in the future, so save future you a job and do it now!
How can I reuse tea leaves?
There are plenty of ways that you can reuse tea leaves. Some involve refreshing the smells in your home, others involve revitalising the plants in your garden, and all are fantastic options.
We are not the only ones who love reusing tea leaves either. In Japan, the act of reusing tea leaves after brewing them has a name: chagra. It is a tradition that comes from a culture where nothing goes to waste, which also has a name and is called mottainai.
Here are some of the most popular ways that you can reuse tea leaves in your home. Bear in mind that to do these, you will need to dry out your tea leaves beforehand. This process is simple, just leave them out in the sun until they are no longer moist and you are good to go.
Remove unwanted smells
I know we said don’t put your tea leaves in the bin, but this is an exception!
If you find that the bin in your home or your outdoor refuse bin often gets a bit stinky, then you can use dried tea leaves to help remove some of these unwanted odours.
Simply sprinkle your dried tea leaves for a simple fix. But for the best results, create a sachet of tea leaves and tape this to the interior roof of your bin lid or near your bins. This will allow the tea to absorb the unpleasant smells without getting dirty, meaning they last for longer.
Use them in relaxing baths
Tea leaves, especially green teas, have been found to have antimicrobial properties. This means that they make great components in a relaxing bath or footbath.
Use a sachet of your dried tea leaves instead of commercial bath bombs or bath fragrances for an organic, sensitive-friendly soothing bath.
If you want an extra-calming bath or help with falling asleep at night, then use a tea with chamomile such as our Chamomile Flowers tea. Simply keeping one near your bed at night can help you have a good night’s sleep.
One of the best qualities of our tea is its smell. You really can’t beat the smell of freshly brewed Rose Petal tea.
Skip the sachet and sprinkle some of your dried tea leaves onto a wax melt burner and this will gently roast your tea leaves over time, releasing a lovely smell throughout your home without the use of a candle.
Are tea leaves good for the garden?
One of the best uses for your used tea leaves is as a fertiliser for your plants. You can use tea leaves on house plants or outdoor plants in your garden to provide them with essential nutrients and nitrogen.
Tea leaves are good for plants that do well in slightly acidic soil, such as rhododendrons, roses, and hydrangeas. There are plenty more, so do your research before using tea on your precious plants.
When using tea leaves as plant fertiliser, you don’t need to dry them out first. Simply clear out your infuser and they can go straight onto your plants.
One ingredient in tea leaves that plants love is chamomile. And because you are using a natural fertiliser, you can stay away from commercial fertilisers full of harmful ingredients.
Can you recycle tea bags?
No, you generally cannot recycle tea bags. Unfortunately, manufacturers often use plastics in their tea bags, which means they are not even suitable for composting after use.
Some tea bags are made of paper, and these can be recycled after you remove the tea from them. Remember to use your leftover tea on your plants instead of throwing it away!
Can you put tea bags in compost?
No, you cannot put tea bags into your compost. This is because tea bags that include plastics will not fully degrade in your compost, and even tea bags that use plastic alternatives will take a very long time to degrade.
The best thing that you should do if you buy tea bags is empty your tea into your compost and then dispose of the bag separately.
Or, ideally, you can buy loose leaf tea and never have to worry about this! Loose leaf tea is a great addition to compost and will add many valuable nutrients to your heap that your plants will then enjoy.
More advice from our experts at Leaf Tea Shop
We hope that you have enjoyed learning about the many uses of loose leaf tea post-brew! For more useful information on our award-winning teas, or for inspiration to make gorgeous desserts following our unique recipes, check out our blog and let us know what you think on our socials!