How to Make Zero Waste Iced Tea

How to Make Zero Waste Iced Tea

With summer in full swing, I love whipping up a jug of zero waste iced tea. Especially when I’m having company over. But I cannot stand those powdered iced teas they sell where you just add water – there are so many unnecessary additives in there like artificial dyes and sweeteners. Thankfully, there’s a low waste and natural alternative: Using loose leaf tea! All you’ll need is a glass pitcher (or a plastic one – using what you have is always the most sustainable option) and some great loose leaf tea. The reason I choose loose leaf is because, typically, most tea bags contain plastic and you really don’t want to mix hot water with plastic. Unless you enjoy drinking microplastics? Here’s how to make zero waste iced tea.

How to Make Zero Waste Iced Tea

How to Make Zero Waste Iced Tea

First, I think it’s important to discuss where to find loose leaf tea. If you have access to a bulk food store, chances are they probably sell loose leaf tea there.

My local health food store has a bulk section and they sell a few teas there in bulk. Things like chamomile, English Breakfast tea, etc. So definitely check and see what yours has.

I recommend taking a reusable produce bag with you or an empty upcycled glass jar. This will keep things low waste and let you fill up on your choice of tea.

How to Make Zero Waste Iced Tea

If you don’t have access to bulk, don’t fear – I advise checking out Arbor Teas. This sustainable brand is my absolute go-to when it comes to loose leaf tea. Their teas are completely plastic-free and come in compostable packaging. Plus, the tea itself is organic, fair trade and comes from biodiverse farms! They also offset any carbon emissions with Carbon Fund!

There’s a wide variety of flavors to choose from – but me and my mom absolutely always come back to their hibiscus and plum oolong flavors. They make for great iced tea! I also got my glass pitcher on their site – it has a stainless-steel filter that catches tea leaves and allows for smooth pouring.

If you must use tea bags, here are some compostable tea bag brands.

Zero Waste Iced Tea Recipe

Ingredients + supplies:

  • 2-3 tablespoons of loose leaf tea (highly recommend this organic butterfly pea lemongrass – add lemon + watch it go from indigo to purple!)
  • 2-3 scoops of brown sugar or honey (optional)
  • Hot water
  • Pitcher
  • Wooden spoon


  1. Begin by boiling some hot water. I’d say about 2 cups worth is good. While that’s happening, fill your pitcher with your loose leaf of choice. Then add in any sweetener you’d like. Sometimes I’ll even add fresh fruit like cut strawberries or raspberries to it for extra taste.
  2. Once the water has boiled, pour it in to your pitcher and let it steep for 5 minutes. Make sure to mix it using the wooden spoon a few times.
  3. Now add cool water to the pitcher until it’s just about full (not overflowing). I also like to add in some ice cubes to help speed things along and help cool things down. Give it a good mix, then add it to your fridge. Let it sit for 6-8 hours, or at least until cold. For an even more distinct brew, let it sit overnight.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
How to Make Zero Waste Iced Tea

Would you give this zero waste iced tea a try? Let me know in the comments below!

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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