It's possible to buy tea that is loose leaf instead on in the tea bags and use it while in the outdoors such as cold brewing in a Nalgene. Coffee grounds need to be packed out but what about tea leaves (which are biodegradable).

What is the Leave No Trace way to dispose of the used tea leaves?

  • 1
    I'd just dig a hole and pop them in - coffee grounds as in the other question are used in home made compost (they add nitrogen) but have lots of caffiene - so I though tea leaves contain more caffiene per kilo, per cup you have way less. driftaway.coffee/is-there-more-caffeine-in-coffee-or-tea
    – Aravona
    Jun 10, 2019 at 9:35

1 Answer 1


If by tea leaves you mean the camellia sinensis used for green tea, then it is just as foreign to certain areas as banana peels are. I find Sue's answer from the coffee question quite decisive here. Furthermore you don't know by what was a certain tea treated, that means there is no guarantee that you wouldn't bring in any substance which is not supposed to be there. So according to Sue's answer no leftover tea leaves should be left in nature.

From my point of view (maybe I am not strict enough with the Leave No Trace...) picking your own herbs (especially some which could be found in nature/that specific area as well) would exclude a part of these problems. In that case the answer to “Would this item be here or would this area look like this if I had never come through?” might not be a straightforward YES, but still more yes than in the case of green tea leaves. For example some wet thyme under a bush would biodegrade after a while: thyme would be there in nature, but maybe not torn down+wet from boiling. Again, the question arises: should I forage my own herbs from the places where I hike (especially if I am in a protected area, then I definitely should NOT), or is there a better place where I can do that?

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