Operation One Less (tea bag)

Throughout 2011, I am identifying one thing each week that I can do less of. The “thing” need not be huge; in fact, the point is to suggest that even the little things can make a big difference over time. Call it a resolution if you like. I call it Operation One Less.

I drink a lot of tea. I haven’t always. In the past, I’ve purchased a lot of tea… and then put a lot of tea in the pantry… and then failed to drink much tea. But the tins are always so pretty and the flavors always so exotic and delicious sounding that I just kept buying. But since I lost my job in November, I’ve been spending much more time at home with a pantry full of tea, which calls to me on these chilly winter days. I pretty much drink tea all day long now. Not only does it keep my insides warm, it also ensures that I’m drinking enough water every day to produce plenty of milk for Jupiter. And it’s giving me an excuse to use up some of the 200+ remaining sugar cubes from one of Bug’s school projects.

I’d say I drink, on average, 6-8 cups of tea daily during the week; probably closer to 3 on the weekends. That’s 36-46 cups of tea each week, which translates to 1872 – 2392 over the course of the year. (Wow. That’s a lot, isn’t it? I’ve never counted it up before. Explains why Mr. Legume asked me if drinking tea was one of my New Years resolutions.) Presumably, I’ll cut back once the weather gets warmer, but who knows… there’s always iced tea. But let’s just go ahead and work with these numbers for the sake of this exercise, and let’s just round to 2000 cups of tea each year for a nice even number.

Two-thousand cups of tea is also 2000 tea bags… unless you reuse your tea bags.

I find that I can use the same bag to brew two large cups of tea before losing flavor. You can go for a third, but by then the tea will be weak enough that you might as well be drinking a cup of hot water with sugar or honey. I always make sure I have some sort of receptacle handy to hold my once-used bag while it waits for its second cup, and I usually use the same small “bag holder” for a week to cut down on dirty dishes. And when it’s brewed all that it can brew, remember that tea bags are compostable.

In my case, brewing two cups of tea instead of one with each tea bag will use 1000 (give or take) fewer tea bags each year. And it will save me $250 over the same period of time (based on 36 tea bags in the canisters I usually buy, at $9/canister).

I just shared this delightful news with Mr. Legume. He is not at all impressed. But you and I know that every little bit helps, right?



Filed under Environment, food, Operation One Less

2 responses to “Operation One Less (tea bag)

  1. have you thought about loose leaf teas and a press – no bags at all and nice leaves for composting? It actually surprises me what you can buy in bulk these days and I’m also amazed at how many half off online tea suppliers coupons there have been in the last 6 months. Just a thought (I still do both).

    • Yes! I recently noticed that my favorite grocery store carries my favorite brand of tea in bulk. Who knew? I don’t know why I never thought to check for bulk tea before – it just never occurred to me. So that’s my next step… just as soon as I work my way through the many half-empty canisters already in my pantry.

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