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How to choose a sustainable and eco-friendly tea?


When I published my “baked tea” recipe, I realized that I did not explain what makes it zero-waste and eco-friendly. First, I used fruits that were past their best and would otherwise end up in a compost bin. Secondly, I bought the fruits at our local farm and the raw sugar at a bulk store. And thirdly, the jar that I stored it in was recycled – from our favorite marmalade brand. But if you are not into baked fruit teas, here are tips on how to choose sustainable and eco-friendly tea (and tea bags).

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If you want to go fully zero-waste, grow herbs in your garden. My grandmother used to grow camomile, mint, sage, and lime tea. And as a girl scout, I had to learn how to make rosehip and raspberry tea (just in case I got lost in the wild one day). 🙂

If you don’t have a garden, choose loose leaf tea. You can buy fair-trade and organic loose tea in bulk stores (Magasins zéro déchet) or at a herbal shop (herboristerie). If the loose tea in the herbal shop is packaged, bring your own container and ask the shop assistant to transfer it. Usually, it is not a problem.

Here are some of my favorite places in Geneva and canton Vaud that I like:

  • Herboristerie d’Arve (Rue de Carouge 87, Geneva) – has a bit of a Harry Potter vibe.
  • Online via L’Herboriste.
  • Il Bio Locale (in Rolle, canton Vaud)/ Nature en Vrac (Place des Grottes 1, 1201 Geneva)/ Le Bocal Local (Rue Lissignol 10, 1201 Geneva).
  • If your city is not on this list, have a look online for the closest zero-waste store or a herbal shop.

To make a tea, get a reusable tea strainer. I like natural materials such as silver, stainless steel, bamboo, cotton (or cotton bags with drawstrings), or ceramic. But you can also try BPA free silicone tea strainers.


When you buy packaged tea at supermarket, look for a tea that is:

  • Hand-picked,
  • Fair-trade certified,
  • Organic.

And for packaging, that is:

  • Compostable (avoid plastic sachets).
  • Paper filter bags (you can compost them).
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Sustainably packaged mint tea from the Swiss Coop’s value brand “Prix Garantie.”

I like tea from the Swiss Coop value brand called “Prix Garantie.” Although it is not organic, it is in a simple carton box and the tea in paper filter bags. It makes it more sustainable than the organic teas in shiny, plastic packaging.

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The 40% UTZ certified chamomile tea available at Swiss Coop.

This chamomile tea is 40% UTZ certified. UTZ makes part of Rainforest Alliance, and its certification shows consumers that products were sustainably sourced from farm to shop shelf.

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Avoid tea filter bags with “aroma protection” – they have plastic or aluminum lining.
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How do you buy your tea? Do you prefer loose leaf tea or tea in filter bags? Let me know in the comments below.