At Modern Steep, we highly value the role of nature in providing us with healthful, delicious tea. Out of respect for the natural environment from which comes life so abundant, we strive for mindfulness in our practices as they pertain to the planet and each other.
The following information outlines some of the steps we're taking to help ensure our products get to you whether down the street or across the country in the most efficient and sustainable manner possible. Once in your hands, we encourage you to further achieve our goals by composting, recycling and re-using goods as appropriate. Together, we can help cultivate a healthy future for ourselves and those who follow as well as better care for our beautiful planet.
In use for most "by-the-ounce" loose-leaf tea purchases, our FDA approved, food-safe compostable pouches are "Kraft" brown in color and made of a plant-based material called polylactic acid (PLA). They have a compostable ALOX lining that serves as an important barrier to oxygen and moisture. Designed to decompose in industrial composting facilities, the pouches are not intended for long term storage of your tea. For short term storage (e.g., 8-10 weeks), packages should be stored in a cool, dry location. Otherwise, we recommend transferring contents to a durable, reusable storage container that will protect your tea from light, heat, oxygen and moisture. Currently, the label does contain a light adhesive not intended for composting; it should be removed prior to composting the package.
While the options for compostable labels are significantly limited in the U.S. and with prices currently more than 10 times that of conventional materials, we are committed to the introduction of compostable labels in 2022. We ask that consumers increase their demand for such materials so as to help increase supply and competition while helping to normalize pricing for this currently scarce resource. (Anticipated Spring 2022)
We value the gift of nature and source only teas cultivated in organic-certified gardens. Not only is the tea we bring you free of harsh pesticides and herbicides, we feel the working environment for those who grow and produce our teas is a safer place overall. Furthermore, we maintain a high regard for cleanliness in our own working environment and refrain from use of toxic chemicals in and around our workplace.
In mid-winter 2022, we will begin use of compostable tissue paper when padding delicate teas and other items for shipment. This kraft brown tissue paper is made from 100% recycled material, using 0% virgin sources and made in the USA. It is compostable in both commercial and backyard environments. While fancy tissue paper can provide a festive or formal aesthetic, less is more when it comes to doing our part to reducing waste.
On occasion we utilize packing materials other than tissue paper especially when breakable items are being shipped. However, we only use material that we’ve saved from shipments sent to us. That’s the middle part of our overall strategy to Reduce, RE-USE and Recycle!
Did You Know...For shipments coming to us from our own suppliers, we proactively ask that they forego use of Styrofoam packing materials. We don't want the waste, nor do we want to encourage use of such petroleum-based nonsense! We encourage you to make similar requests of your retailers.
We will replace use of plastic shipping tape for nearly all of our retail shipments with 100% recyclable, compostable paper tape. This packing tape is secured to shipping boxes using a plant based, water activated adhesive. (Coming early 2022)
We utilize 32 ETC grade shipping boxes which are 100% recyclable and weigh 19% less than traditional 200# test corrugated cardboard. When clean of food, oils or other contamination and free of non-compostable labeling, corrugated cardboard may be composted. These boxes require less raw materials to construct and are lighter to transport.
From Your Cup to the Garden
Once you enjoy the wonderful gift of nature in your cup, we encourage you to further take advantage of your tea leaves through backyard or commercial composting. Not only is tea an antioxidant-rich beverage for you, tea can also be good for your plants. For plants that crave acidic soil conditions, your spent tea leaves can make a great natural fertilizer. Spent tea leaves have more nitrogen than some garden variety fertilizers. The leaves can act as an antifungal and can even help prevent certain pests from hanging out in your garden. We’ve scoped out a couple of sites for you to check out that speak on the matter of using tea in your garden, including some important do’s and don’ts. Of course, we’re not affiliated with or specifically endorsing these websites; we simply enjoyed reading some of the additional ways tea can enrich our lives beyond the cup.
While we have adopted use of many compostable and/or recyclable products in our workflow and strive to maintain a clean and healthy workplace, we are constantly seeking other ways to reduce our footprint and impact on the natural environment. We encourage you to send us your ideas and suggestions. Furthermore, we hope that you'll join us in our efforts by doing your part to ensure the proper use and disposal of packaging and other items.