How to Recycle Tea Bags

Tea drinking has grown in popularity since research revealed the health benefits of antioxidants in tea leaves. Tea drinkers use up an average of three tea bags a day. Since the leaves, bags, strings and labels are organic and biodegradable, are there ways to recycle what remains after every cup of tea? The answer is yes.

Add the used teabags to your compost heap. Some teabags decompose faster than others, depending on the material the bags are made of.

Use the teabags to prevent soil from leaking out of the bottom holes of your plant containers. When preparing potted plants, line the bottoms of the containers with used teabags (instead of rocks, pebbles or foam fillers). The teabags will eventually decompose and become part of the potted soil.

Use teabags to help retain moisture for hanging planters. When preparing hanging plants like ferns or ivy, line the empty planters with teabags before adding the potting mix. The teabags will absorb water and retain the moisture longer than sphagnum or peat moss.

Cut the teabags open and collect the tea leaves. Mix them with your garden soil or potting soil, or trowel them into the ground around your plants to add nutrients to the topsoil.

Use them as an eye compress. Warm or cold, you can use the teabags to help relax tired eyes. Just lie back, place the moist teabags over your eyes and let the tannins in the tealeaves stimulate blood circulation and reduce those puffy eye bags and dark rings around your eyes.

Use the paper packets and colorful labels for artwork. Be creative with art pieces like figures, décor, posters, greeting cards and handicrafts.

Donate dried, empty teabags to native artists who use them as raw materials for original artwork that are sold to raise funds for building their towns and communities.


Some manufacturers are using nylon tea bags. Nylon does not decompose; therefore, these bags are not suitable for composting.

Things You'll Need

  • Used tea bags
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Ruby is a freelance writer by profession. She has written extensively about a wide variety of topics in print and online, but here at eHow, she shares her passion for home and garden. Whether it’s housekeeping, home organization, do-it-yourself restorations, or creative renovations, chances are she’s tried it herself. A big fan of power tools, always eager to get her hands dirty, and happy to answer questions, Ruby’s always puttering around the house or digging in the garden.