Reduce, Reuse & Recycle (Or Compost!)
Any Herbalist worth their salt is concerned for the environment in which they live.
Climate change is a global emergency that school children seem all to aware of. Indeed, it will directly impact this ermerging generation as global sea rises, mass migration and environmental catastrophies become all too common. Meanwhile, the leaders of our world continue their wreckless abandon to adulterate and pillage this wonderful creation we live in.
Herbalists are, by nature, in touch with their surroundings. The feeling of partnership and symbiosis is integral to them and their environment. A profound appreciation that we neeed to care for the very plants that so lovingly return to us protection, medicine, food and nourishment.
With that in mind we needed to really think long and hard about packaging. Teas, Tinctures, Vinegars and Tablets all require a bit of thought, ensuring a product is preserved, free from oxidisation and transports well. We also need to be mindful of the problems our consumption of plastic may well have on the world around us.
In a sense its easier with the medicines to be packaged in an environmentally friendly manner; amber glass bottles can be reused many many times and preserve the life of the product better than any plastic might be able to offer. Packaging teas however is not so simple. One needs to think of everything from the potential tea-bags you offer to the way they are packaged. Zip Lock pouches seem a logical answer but even the kraft pouches that look so wonderfully biodegradable need to be sent to an industrial composting facility to be broken down and many of them contain plastic or foil in their make up. Further thought needs to be given to labels too, many lables are biodegradable but to get a truly compostable label one needs to be prepared to pay substantially more.
All tea-maker's go with convention when it comes to preserving teas. An aluminium tea caddy that stops light and oxidisation. We take a similar approach with an additional caveat. Our aluminium tins are excellent for storing herbal teas but we don't wish to rely on people recycling. We like the idea of "reusing" first. We have opted to sell 100% compostable pouches for our teas which can be thrown on your own compost heap at home. You simply open the pouch and re-fill your aluminium tin or kilner jar at home.
Granted, the teas will not keep as long in these pouches and they are not as air-tight as some polypockets. They also allow light in. As our pouches act only as short term packaging and as our teas are made in small batches with little or no shelf time between manufacturing and dispatching we think they are an excellent alternative to any other product on the market. Frankly, it all boiled down to "at what cost?" Do we go for ziplock bags at the cost of the earth we are so enthusiastically trying to harness the energy of? Or, Do we make a compromise that we can all live with and offer something back to the world in return?
Throwing nature to the wind, we also opted for business cards that are 100% recycled and compostable. They have the added benifit of being infused with seeds that will germinate and offer wonderful foraging food for your local pollenators. It feels good to give something back. Take note of our details and throw the card away as you please. Litter the earth with some seeds and allow nature to fight back against Glyphosate!
And Finally, a word on Tea-bags. Many of us have now become aware of the fact that most of our tea-bags are infused with plastic. Its not good for your health, not good for the compost heap and frankly, not good for the oceans either. We spent a little bit of time contemplating this issue as we set up shop. There are lots of options out there. Plastic free, bleach free tea-bags, reusable tea-bags and a plethora of infusers available to the consumers. Firstly, despite their convenience, tea-bags do not allow adequate water to surround the herbs for infusion. If you are drinking tea to derive benifit and flavour from the herbs - Tea-bags are just not the way to go, even the ever so trendy pyramid ones. Further, T-Bags seldom offer the therapeutic doses in a tea-bag the body could benifit from. Many offer about 2g of herb per tea-bag (around a tsp) when most of the herbal teas we suggest require about a tablespoon of the herb (although many of these can be used and reused).
Some infuser pose similar problems and whilst there are nice tea-pots around online we seldom make a herbal tea for more than one person. So, we have opted for an infuser for you mug that is easy to clean, simply empty it into the compost heap and rinse or put in the dishwasher. As time goes on we will hopefully be able to supply branded lidded mugs to perfectly infuse your tea, but for now we must cust our cloth to suit our means - the infuser it is! Anyone taking a 6 month or annual subscription can get one of these from us for free by way of saying "THANK YOU!"