What Are Tea Bags Made Of? | Tea Drops

What Are Tea Bags Made Of?

Tea bag being dipped into clear tea cup of water

Many tea lovers aren’t aware of the health-related problems with tea bags. Usually, tea bags are made of bleached paper, nylon, and plastic. When submerged in boiling water, tea bags release billions of harmful microplastic per serving. All tea bags aren’t biodegradable, harming the environment in the process. This blog post covers the dangers of tea bags and which healthy alternative you should opt for.


General tea bags are made of nylon, plastic, or bleached paper. Glue and other harmful chemicals are used for sealing tea bags. Around 11 billion microplastics are released in a single serving from plastic and nylon tea bags when submerged in boiling water to make tea!

Take note: most tea bags are not biodegradable, which makes them a serious waste product. 

In this article, we detail what makes tea bags such an undesirable product for humans and the environment. We will also look at the health-related dangers of tea bags. Similar to how we are always concerned about the food we consume, we should also be aware of the packaging materials that food comes in.

We know that tea bags simply do not hold tea leaves; they are part of the process of making tea. However, the real problem with tea bags is that they add harmful substances such as plastics to your drink which can easily be avoided by using tea leaves directly. An even better alternative is the tea drops available at the Tea Drops website. You should look into learning more about how to use tea drops to make healthy tea. 

Below is a list of tea bag-related things we are going to cover!

  • What Are Tea Bags Made Of?
  • Toxic Ingredients Found in Tea Bags
  • Tea Bags Are Bad for the Planet
  • Tea Bags Are Bad For Your Health: What to Use Instead
  • Final Notes

Keep reading the article to find out why we consider tea bags bad and our recommended healthy alternatives that will also benefit the environment.

What Are Tea Bags Made Of?

Tea bags are designed using basic materials like paper, nylon, or plastics. The openings are closed off using glue and other sticky compounds. The paper used may often be bleached. But how do these regular materials pose a threat? How are tea bags bad for you?

Many tea drinkers don't know this. And we are here to reveal the reason behind why tea bags are bad for health. On their own, these materials should not cause much harm to the human body. However, when dipped in boiling water, microplastics are formed. One tea bag is able to release as many as 11 billion of these. Other compounds such as bleach, chemicals, and glue are also absorbed into the water along with the tea extract. This makes a horrible toxic concoction that is detrimental to the health of the person ingesting the tea.

Close up of woman pulling tea bag from tea cup

A total of 3.1 billion nano plastic particles in a cup of tea does not sound very appetizing, right? If you are wondering about how these specific particles end up in your tea, then we would like you to know that polypropylene is the culprit. Polypropylene is the compound that is used to close the open end of tea bags once tea leaves are filled inside.

Toxic Ingredients Found In Tea Bags

There is not one but a range of toxic ingredients that can be found in tea bags. These mainly include nylon, plastics, and paper. Let us take a closer look at what harmful effects they bring with them!


Tea bags made out of paper may sound safer than those made of plastics or nylon, but they really aren't. Paper is derived from wood and fibers extracted from vegetables. So what makes paper tea bags toxic?

Paper tea bags do not add plastics to your drink but bleach instead. This is because many producers want the paper to be as white as possible. To ensure this, the paper passes through a bleaching process. Every time you dip these tea bags in water, some part of the bleach goes into your tummy with your drink.

The chlorine dioxide compound that is part of the bleaching method is usually left behind in the paper pulp in a concentration of 4.79 parts per trillion. Apart from chlorine, dioxins are chemicals that come along with paper as well.

To increase the strength of paper tea bags, many producers even add epichlorohydrin. This is a carcinogenic substance that is toxic and harmful in the long run.

The glue used to seal tea bags is another compound you would not want to be ingesting.

Isolated, used tea bag resting on plate


The plastic used in plastic tea bags is commonly polyethylene. Plastic tea bags are larger and more spacious than paper tea bags. And while they can carry more tea leaves, they are still not great for your health.

On their own, plastic bags lying around in your pantry will not cause much harm. But plastic tea bags are a different story when it's time to use them. They release tons of plastic particles in your drink when the tea bag is submerged in boiling water. Around 11.6 billion particles of microplastics and 3.1 billion particles of Nano plastics are released in one serving. All of these enter the digestive system each time a cup of tea made with a plastic tea bag is drunk.

The worst part is that tea bags made of plastic are also non-biodegradable and are very bad for the environment. 


While nylon, as a fabric, is said to have high heat resistance, they are still susceptible to releasing harmful components in boiling water during the tea-making process. There's been no definitive studies showcasing that all nylon tea bags are 100% safe for human consumption in the long run.

Tea Bags Are Bad For The Planet

Tea bags are not eco-friendly either. While we should not be consuming the tea leaves enclosed inside these bags, we should also not be dumping them as waste into the environment. A majority of tea bags are not biodegradable and will not turn into compost. They might end up in water bodies and can clog drains and pipes. 

If the tea bag is made using epichlorohydrin, it will definitely not decay or rot properly alongside other waste. Even animals might choke on them in some instances and possibly die.

Tea Bags Are Bad For Your Health: What To Use Instead

Let us now take a look at how tea bags are detrimental to your health:

Low ECGG content

ECGG is a short form for Epigallocatechin gallate. This is a compound that has oxidizing effects and can promote weight loss. Researchers have deduced that green tea bags have very low levels of said content, only being between 1.09 and 2.29 milligrams per bag. Such low levels can prevent tea drinkers from experiencing the benefits associated with green tea.

Impure tea

The tea packed inside tea bags needs to be very fine so that the extract can be easily obtained. The tea is grounded so that it will be able to fit inside the small area of a plastic or paper bag. All of the excessive grinding and chopping results in the production of dust. This makes the tea impure and further reduces its benefits. The tea powder has a higher chance of reacting with humidity and oxygen, leading to bad quality tea.

Staples and glue 

Stapler pins or glue used to seal tea bags off are very dangerous to human health. You may end up ingesting rust and other harmful compounds. Epichlorohydrin and bleach used in the manufacture of tea bags may cause cancer and digestive problems.

Plastic intake

We have already discussed this point quite a few times. Plastic tea bags made of nylon or other synthetic materials release tons of micro-plastic particles and Nano plastic particles into your drink. This may cause chemical leaching and toxicity. 

It is obvious that you should steer clear of using tea bags to brew a warm cup of black tea or a green one. We recommend using pure tea leaves that are organic and healthy. As mentioned earlier, an even better option would be to opt for tea drops available at the Tea Drops website. There's no toxic tea bag involved. The tea drops can simply be melted in hot water to create an instant healthy drink!

Tea drops are organic and can be purchased in a variety of different flavors. You will also not be required to strain or cook like you do when using tea leaves. So, truly a win-win. Tea Drops can help brew delicious, healthy tea and are definite picnic must-haves!

Final Notes

Bringing everything to a close, we truly hope you understand how damaging it is to use plastic, nylon, and paper tea bags. These are not only harmful to your health but are also pretty bad for the environment. You will be ingesting tons of toxins, carcinogens, and plastic particles in each cup if you keep on using them. Furthermore, you will also miss out on delicious, pure, and healthy tea that could actually bring some benefits to your body.

The non-biodegradable nature should be a big concern for nature lovers. Tea bags do not turn into waste and pollute water bodies. Just think of all the tea bags used around the globe daily. Shivers!

With all of this said, it is time for you to start using organic, flavorful tea drops for better health and a better environment. There's a wide range of tea drops available, including tea for headaches and even chamomile tea for babies.

Article References

  1. https://www.mcgill.ca/newsroom/channels/news/some-plastic-your-tea-300919
  2. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jt/2013/370460/