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Tea’s Carbon Footprint

How Earth Friendly is Your Tea?
How Earth Friendly is Your Tea?

©2009 Jennifer Leigh Sauer

Ever wonder what kind of impact tea has on the environment? That depends largely on the behavior of the tea drinker, according to tea technologist and longtime tea industry consultant Nigel Melican of of Teacraft Ltd who recently did an in-depth study on the carbon footprint of tea.

Researching tea’s carbon impact from Asian tea farm to American teapot (and landfill), Melican sought to find out whether tea is an environmental “saint or a sinner” when we measure its carbon footprint by a number of criteria. He found that several variables in the domain of the tea drinker herself have a great impact on the final result, and it seems worth sharing since we are on this planet together.

“If tea is well made, if we look at the supply chain properly, if we make some adjustments, we can actually get tea to be carbon neutral,” said Melican. “Some tea in some countries we could get to be carbon negative. Now that is quite something for a product which goes from where its grown, ten thousand miles [away], to the consumer…”

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