New research shows how the humble cuppa could help save the planet
And the good news is that you will also save cash, time, and enjoy a better brew every time you make the nation’s favourite beverage.
The new research commissioned by the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA) reveals that simply altering the way we measure the water needed for a cup of tea can help cut 618 tons of carbon emissions.
That’s the equivalent of 1.5 million miles in journeys in the average family car. It can also reduce energy bills across the UK by £455,764 per day.
With tea being the nation’s favourite hot drink (and a staggering 100 million cups consumed each day), the sustainability experts at Carbon Intelligence – which worked with UKTIA to carry out the research – have calculated that if everyone in the UK made this easy change, we would collectively save 2,649,792 kWh per day of electricity.
That’s enough to provide all the energy needs for 74.7 households for a year.
“It’s very easy to feel powerless when faced with the enormity of climate change, but as our research shows if we all make small changes it can add up to a significant impact — and real change,” says Dr Sharon Hall, head of the UKTIA.
“That’s why we are launching the Smart Boil Campaign to spread the word on this simple and achievable step that will deliver immediate benefits — for consumers and the planet.
“In fact, our Smart Boil campaign hits one of the nine goals prioritised by climate and environment experts at Imperial University.
“Reducing energy consumption is number 5 on their list of important changes we can all make — behind cutting back on flying and leaving the car at home.”
The Smart Boil initiative is designed to make the UK’s tea loving Brits ‘Smart Boilers’. That means getting everyone to only boil the amount of water needed, once, and if people can, switch to renewable energy in their own homes.
“The independent research we commissioned from Carbon Intelligence shows that we all have the power to make a real difference,” adds Dr Hall.
“In fact, for every mug of tea boiled, using exactly the amount of water needed would save per day:
- 0.026 kWh in electricity
- 0.5p on energy bills
- 0.000006 tCO2e (tons of greenhouse gases)
“And if we only boiled the water we needed and all the electricity we used was generated from renewable sources, it would save 2,649,792 kWh of electricity per day.
“That’s 1,236 tonnes of greenhouse gases – the equivalent of planting 20,438 seedlings over 10 years or switching 46,846 incandescent lightbulbs to LEDs.”
UKTIA members including PG Tips, Pukka, Tetley, Twinings and Yorkshire Tea are all in support of the new Smart Boil campaign and will be encouraging consumers to boil – ‘just what you need’ when making your favourite cuppa.
“There is no doubt that reducing greenhouse gases will require action on all fronts, and this should be led by Government’s around the world,” says Dr Hall.
“The real strength of our Smart Boil Campaign is that everyone can do their bit. It doesn’t involve any major changes or having to give up anything we enjoy. In fact, quite the opposite.
“Boiling only the amount of water you need and only once will reduce energy bills and improve the taste of your tea.
“In fact, to draw the best flavour out of the tea, the water must contain oxygen to ‘energise’ the leaf and extract all the character of the tea.
“If you top up the kettle, water is repeatedly re-boiled which drives out the oxygen and makes the tea taste dull. So using the right amount of freshly drawn water will deliver a great-tasting cuppa.”
Smart Boil facts
Every day in the UK we drink 100 million cups of tea. If all were by made boiling only the amount of water needed, it would save:
- 2,649,792kWh of electricity per day
- £455,764 in energy bills per day
- 618 tCO2e in greenhouse gas emissions per day
That’s the equivalent of:
- All the electricity needs from 112 average homes for a year
- Emissions from 134 passenger cars for a year
- 1,553,156 miles in passenger car journeys a year.
Want to do more?
- Help spread the word on social media using #Smart Boil #SmartBoil #JustWhatYouNeed
- Think about switching to renewable energy in your home
- Walk, ride a bike, use public transport or car share
- Trade your diesel or petrol car in for an electric or hybrid model
- Draft-proof your home
- Plant a tree in your garden or add pot plants to your windowsill or balcony
- Ask your pension provider or bank if you can opt out of funds investing in fossil fuels
- Avoid single-use items and fast fashion.