What’s the Tea? Brewing a More Sustainable Cuppa

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A standard cup of tea requires one-eighth as much water as a cup of coffee, but tea is no eco-beverage. In fact, the carbon footprints of tea and coffee production are almost identical. But producing tea contributes less to its footprint than how you drink it. Brewing a truly sustainable cuppa might be impossible, but a little education about your tea choices makes it easier to shop your values . Here’s what you need to know about tea. Farm The UN FAO launched a project in Kenya last year to support the production of carbon-neutral tea. Another initiative, Tea2030 crosses all sectors of tea production. But for now, most tea is grown on chemical-intensive farms that contribute to deforestation , erosion, and pesticide contamination . Monoculture farms damage soil health and make plants more susceptible to disease, leading to more intensive use of chemical pesticides and fertilizer. Half of the 62 teas tested by the FDA in a 2015 study contained pesticide residues . Using biological controls instead of fumigants against soil nematodes; site-specific fertilization plans or organic farming; and the introduction of shade trees to plantations are all methods for reducing the impact of tea cultivation. People A […]

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