Did you know that tea-loving Brits drink around 100 million cuppas a day. That is a LOT of tea! But the shocking fact is that eight in 10 admit to overfilling the kettle which wastes time and money so tea experts at the UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA) are encouraging the nation to be ‘smart boilers’. Named Smart Boil, the UKTIA is trying to encourage all tea-lovers to only boil the amount of water needed for a brew, saving on energy costs as well as being kind to the planet.
I actually started doing this a few months ago when this terrifying cost of living crisis started hitting the headlines. I filled one of our bigger mugs with water and poured the water into a measuring jug. Turns out the average cuppa in my house requires around 300ml of water.
I recorded this on a post it on the fridge and quite firmly suggested that everyone in the house measured water for hot drinks out the jug I left next to the kettle. It’s handy for teaching basic multiplication – 3 cups – 900ml of water. Add an extra 100 ml to ensure the kettle has enough water and job’s a good ‘un.
According to the very latest energy calculations by sustainability experts commissioned by the UKTIA, a whopping 2,649,792 kWh of electricity is wasted each day, creating 618 tCO2e greenhouse gas emissions just to boil the extra water. Overfilling the kettle also adds an eye-watering £900,900 a day overall to the nation’s energy bill.
Dr Sharon Hall, head of the UK Tea and Infusions Association says: “The Smart Boil campaign returns for another year and it’s not a moment too soon. With rapidly rising energy costs, for consumers and businesses alike, every bit we can save on our electricity bills helps us deal better with the cost-of-living crisis.
“The UK is a tea drinking nation, and everyone loves their tea breaks, so it really can make a difference to boil only what you need. Using your mug to measure out the water for one or two cuppas is easy to do, yet our survey found that only a third of people were doing this routinely.”
Out of 1,000 UK tea drinkers quizzed in the research poll for the UKTIA, fewer than 1 in 5 boiled the recommended amount of water when making a single mug of tea, with almost half boiling three or more times the water they need.
In addition, in the same research study, 70% left it to cool down and boiled it again for the next cuppa, and a further one in 10 chucked the water down the sink. My other half is a nightmare for re-boiling the water over and over! Not great in a hard water area as you end up with a furry kettle interior and dodgy tasting tea.
Dr Sharon Hall explains further: “Following the Smart Boil guidelines to fill the kettle with only the water you need is good for the planet as well as your budget. The 2.6 million kWh of electricity saved each day would be enough to provide electricity to 112 average homes for a year or is equivalent to 1.5 million miles of car journeys. That’s why Smart Boil is a win win for everyone.”
I took the advice a little further. At the moment, gas is cheaper per unit than electricity, so I have hidden the electric kettle and brought out a whistling kettle for our gas hob. Unlike the electric kettle of course it doesn’t turn off automatically but it’s very hard to ignore the piercing whistle which you can hear all over the house.
As well as saving energy drinking hot drinks helps to keep you warm. If you are finding your home or office is a bit chilly make yourself a cuppa and you will soon feel warmer from the inside out.
Coming down with a cold or got a sore throat? Add a touch of honey to your tea - it has natural antiseptic properties which can sooth and help heal.
Everyone likes to save money so why not try joining the smart boil effort. You never know, you might save enough money to treat yourself to some tasty new tea blends.