5 Ways to Reuse and Recycle your Chai Leaves

On 5 June every year since 1974, we have celebrated World Environment Day. This annual observance is the United Nations' principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. 
 
The health of our planet and the environment is very important to us at Prana Chai. We are passionate about sustainable living and doing what we can, when we can. 

“Is there any way I can reuse the tea leaves after brewing?” is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from our cafe partners. The short answer is: yes! You don’t need to just throw all those brewed tea leaves and spices away. There are lots of ways we like to give our tea leaves a second lease on life.

Make A Plant Fertiliser.

There's nothing nicer than using house-grown herbs in your dishes, and here's a great closed loop fertiliser to help you grow them.

Not only the tea leaves themselves, but also many of the whole spices you find in Prana Chai can function as natural pesticides and deliver nutrients to your plants: making them perfect for composting. 

Method
  • After brewing, collect and rinse the leaves & spices a few times in water, if you brewed with milk.
  • Spread widely in a flat bowl and dry thoroughly for 2-3 days.
  • Your completely dry Prana Fertiliser can then be applied straight to the pot with some soil (4 spoons per large pot, every 15 days)
  • Do not forget to water after fertilising!

You might wonder why tea leaves are good for plants?

Tea leaves buried in the soil slowly decompose, and the nutrients and minerals in them help plants grow and keep healthy. It is said that the tea leaves contain 4.4% nitrogen, 0.24% phosphorus, and 0.25% potassium.

Among the inorganic elements supplied from the soil, it is nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that plants are in most need of. It is important that we regenerate our soil with these nutrients, as otherwise our plants will slowly but surely deplete their foodbank. This is especially important with plants that are self-contained within a pot, as the soil needs to be constantly topped up with ‘plant food’. 

What's more, the rest of the spices have a scent that insects don't like, so our Prana Fertiliser can work great as a natural pesticide!

 

As a deodoriser, to eliminate odours around the cafe.

Rinse your used #onlythegoodstuff and spread out to dry for a few days.

Put used and dried tea leaves and spices in your rubbish bin or in small bowls in each toilet cubicle. They’ll also suck up food odours when stuck in a bowl in the fridge!

You could also fill small muslin drawstring bags with the tea and extra spices and hang in cupboards, or rinse your hands with brewed tea after touching fish or other smelly foods.

 

Say goodbye to greasy dishes.

Sprinkle rinsed leaves onto chopping boards and surfaces that have absorbed strong odours like fish or meat and scrub clean as normal. Soak the dishes in hot water with brewed tea leaves & spices. The greasier the dish, the more time will be needed to break it down; soaking the pile overnight is recommended. You will find shiny and clean dishes with no chemicals whatsoever!

 

Infuse into other recipes. 

Once you’ve brewed your cups of chai, you can re-use the mix to flavour other foods. Rinse in cold water to get rid of any milk and place them into a pot of water as it comes to a boil to flavour the water. Strain, then add your pasta, rice, or oatmeal and cook as per usual. We recommend our Vegan Blend with Agave for your oatmeal or maybe our Turmeric Blend for a delicious spiced rice! 

Use to clean glass and mirrors for a streak free shine.

Slightly acidic and tannin-rich, you'll want to make sure the leaves are well rinsed of any milk, and larger spices removed. Steep the tea in boiling water and leave for at least an hour before straining. Once cool, you can add to a spray bottle and use to wipe down any shiny surfaces. Again, best to patch test porous surfaces like marble, but for glass, you'll end up with a streak-free, natural and cheap cleaning product! Keep your spray bottle in the fridge and continue to use for a few days.

We'd love to hear about any other ways you reuse your tea leaves. Share with us @pranachaion Instagram or Facebook- we'd love to share your tips in celebration of World Environment Day!