Boy, oh boy mister Qi do I have a bone to pick with you. Okay, I actually don’t know if you are a mister or not (are more tea companies run by men or women?) but for the sake of this post you will be. You see mister Qi I really like your green tea. (I swear that rhyming was unintentional). I happened upon it last week and have been a fan from the first sip. Spiced with blueberry, red-grape and pomegranate (also containing hawthorn fruit, whatever that is, and dandelion root), it’s pretty divine. What more could a girl want in the way of antioxidants? Fair-trade and organic? Thumbs up to you. Though by now all brands should be adopting those philosophies, but let’s not get too sidetracked. Up to this point I’m very happy with your product, but then you go and make a big blunder. With stupid, excessive, wasteful packaging. Why, oh why mister Qi does each individual tea bag need to be wrapped in paper? Sure I’ve heard all the arguments about easier transport, preventing flavours mixing, preserving them for longer, blah, blah blah. But when a girl really wants a cup of tea, and fast, it’s just a hassle to have to open the packet. Okay, that’s not exactly my main problem with the packaging, but a valid point none-the-less.
The real issue? It’s wasteful. Full stop. Not to mention, extremely inconsiderate of the environment. Why cut down trees, just so that each little tea-bag has it’s own fancy wrapping? I’d like to hope that we consumers aren’t that fussy. Now, I know that you are far from being the only culprit, mister Qi, and I apologise (somewhat) for taking my frustration out on you alone. In truth, many brands do far worse than you (Twinnings I’m looking at you here) by using foil wrappers. Don’t even get me started on that. At least the paper ones can be recycled. But you were doing so well on the sustainable front with your fair trade and organic policies. Why trip up just before the finish line?
I’m scared to say that the answer in all likelihood lies with consumer demand. Aesthetics, ‘sanitation’ and consequently ‘correct packaging’ are sadly being prioritised more and more in the Western world. Unfortunately, such ‘values’ are leading to a lot of wasted resources. I’ve already mentioned the destruction of trees, but what about the energy used to package each tea bag? And for that matter, what about the resources and energy required to produce the machines that wrap the bags? I really doubt that the sheer amount of waste – and consequent devastation inflicted on the environment – is worth a pristine tea bag.
I’ll come back to this point time and time again, but isn’t flavour more important than aesthetics? If you’re product is of high quality, then I couldn’t give a tuppence on how it’s packaged. In fact, I’m more likely to buy the product if it is packaged in an environmentally manner. How about that, mister Qi? I’m tempted to say that I would even forgo your scrumptious tea for one of a lesser quality but with more sustainable packaging, just to make a point. I don’t fancy doing that, however the only way that we’re going to be able to fix this situation is to make a stand. If enough people refuse to purchase excessively packaged goods, or goods that are packaged with unrecyclable materials, then hopefully companies will change their wasteful ways.