Friday, April 19, 2019

Those pesky life cycles

Harney and Sons tea. The "silken" tea-bags (as I discovered when trying to compost them, are nylon. It's staggering to think that any producer -- especially so recently -- believed this was a good idea.

I happened across Skye Morét's life-cycle analysis for this very item, proposing a linen replacement.

I do hope Harney and Sons are acting to replace nylon. That so-unnecessary tea canister provokes questions, too. The future of the high-end foodie gift market should be a green one.


The Twinings mesh teabags that are served in Costa are, I believe, made of a corn starch derivative called Soilon. I have seen claims that this will break down in a month in compost, less quickly in open air. I'm running my own experiment at the moment!

I can find no reliable info on the Teavana mesh tea bags served in Starbucks. I have noticed that nylon bags are very difficult to tear laterally while corn starch bags are quite easy to tear laterally. If that's diagnostic then the Teavana bags would seem to be corn starch.


Meanwhile, a more hopeful sign.

Oatly (oat drink) are now labelling their products with a carbon footprint measurement. Theirs is, of course, a low one. But I hope to see the time when all products display this information.

It's a little confusing that the measurement is expressed by weight (Kg CO2e per kilogram) when the product is sized by volume (1 litre). However, it does weigh approximately 1kg. It's also unclear if the calculation includes e.g. packaging and distribution.

It's still a good start. I now know that 7-8 cartons of Oatly is equivalent to burning a litre of petrol (2.3 kg CO2e /kg). Given that this is such a relatively clean product, it may come as a surprise that the CF is as high as that. But as Oatly point out, the food industry generates 25% of global emissions compared to 14% for transportation.


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