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Should I put Teabags in my compost bin?

I have read the following recently.  A report published by Which? Gardening reveals that teabags produced by top tea manufacturers such as Tetley, PG Tips, Twinnings, Clipper and Typhoo are only between 70-80% biodegradable. As a result, gardeners are finding the net part of teabags - caused by the inclusion of heat-resistant polypropylene - left on their compost heaps.

Which? Gardening contacted the major tea manufacturers to check the content of their products. PG Tips responded: "'Like most of the teabags in the UK, our teabags are made with about 80% paper fibre, which is fully compostable along with the tea leaves contained in the bag. The remaining packaging includes a small amount of plastic which is not fully biodegradable."

Given the recent publicity on Blue Planet II regarding plastics and the disposal of plastics getting into the food chain I ask the question,  should I be putting used teabags into my compost bins with the veg waste and is this adding to the problem?


  • LynLyn Posts: 22,865

    I dry them out first then open them. 

    We make compost very quickly here and they are just not broken down in that time. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • That's interesting. I use PG tips and find they do disappear completely but obviously they must be leaving some plastic distributed in the compost. I also use Twinings Darjeeling for my mother when she visits and they don't seem to break down at all.

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 34,562

    I lob them into the bins. I can live with the odd "not quite" broken down one in the garden. 

    I've got better things to look at than them. image

  • I break up tea bags - if I have time and the will - prior to mixing them in the compost bin. But as Hostafan as stated, I wouldn't loose too much sleep over the way they decompose. Changing the subject slightly but what other types of  food material that your would normally place in your compost bin   have others felt do not seem to compost that well. With me, it's potato skins that normally don't decompose well and seem to sprout new growth. Not surprising based on the conditions in a compost bin but not satisfying when you just want  them to decompose  

  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 5,101
    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • RedwingRedwing Posts: 1,439

    You could of course dispense with teabags altogether and use loose tea and teapot......makes by far better tea.

    Based in Sussex, I garden to encourage as many birds to my garden as possible.
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 845

    How ridiculous.

    I always have had the intention to take all the work tea bags home. I'd get about a bucket a day.  But having plastic in there is really off-putting.

    I buy cellulose cleaning cloths that I chuck in, and I find the odd plastic grid/weave left over down the line.  In fact I'm always surprised just how much plastic I find in the compost bin when sieving out, considering I try and avoid putting any in.

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