According to the United Kingdom Tea Council, the British drink a staggering 160 million cups of tea per day and 70 million cups of coffee on top. Surprisingly, that isn’t quite enough to make the UK the biggest tea-consuming nation in the world, taking second place behind the Republic of Ireland instead. But whether first or second in the tea drinking stakes, the fact remains that tea consumption – especially when take-away paper cups are factored in – can pose serious problems for the planet.
Consider these sobering statistics: 58 billion paper cups end up in landfill every year and 20 million trees are felled annually to provide paper for them - and that’s before you consider the implications of pesticide use in tea and coffee production. While chains such as Starbucks are doing their bit to put Fairtrade and organic coffee on their drinks menu, the best way to minimise the impact of your morning coffee is to make it yourself and take it with you in one of the new breed of reusable cups. Forget old-school thermos flasks, hot drink holders like the Byocup, £11.95 are small, stylish and a green alternative to paper. What’s more, when the Byocup reaches the end of its life, the company lets you return it and then sends it on to a silicone recycling plant in India where it gets a new lease of life as a bracelet or key fob. That beats Costa any day.
To find out more, go to www.byocup.co.uk
The Ecologist Top Ten... organic and fair trade teas
Our fortnightly new series of Ecologist Top Tens begins with a look at the best organic and fair trade teas your money can buy. Laura Sevier puts the kettle on...
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