Green Josephine

A young woman working towards environmental and financial sustainability.

DIY Tea Bag Firelighters

If you want to avoid chucking your tea bags in the bin and save money on firelighters, check out this easy peasy DIY!

Some tea bags are compostable, but all tea bags can be used as firelighters. I love this idea, because the time I don’t use tea leaves, I can do something with the waste that is leftover.

I’m quite a lazy DIY-er. I’m getting better the more eco friendly I want to be, but I’m still not wanting to spend hours upon hours making things. Hats off to those who can, but it’s not me.


  • Used tea bags
  • Kerosene or another flammable oil used for burners
  • 2x Jars (I upcycle pasta sauce jars)
  • Scissors

Step 0 – Have some tea!

Step 1

Leave tea bags to dry out in a container. Though I usually just sit mine on the sink. They only take a day or so to dry, it’s just a bit messier.

Step 2

Cut the strings off each tea bag. Most of the time, the string and tag are made out of burn-safe material like cotton and paper. Otherwise, they might be compostable or at least – they’re a small amount of waste for landfill. However to make these truly waste free you will need to either burn or compost the strings & bags.

Step 3

Half or quarter fill a jar with kerosene or the other flammable oil. I used “Classic Unscented Lamp & Torch Oil” from Mitre 10. The amount of liquid will depend on how many you are soaking.

Step 4

Let soak. I usually wait at least a day because I always have more that I’ve pre-made, however they don’t have to soak all that long to be ready for use. Feel them and judge for yourself.

Step 5

Store in a separate jar and use when required.

Personally I like the separate jar, but it wouldn’t matter if you needed to keep them in the same one for space etc. I just like having less oil in the finished product jar.

Why am I using oil when I claim to be Green Josephine?

Well, to be honest, before I started writing this blog post I didn’t really think about it. The climate strikes on Friday also made me think a lot about fossil fuels and the way we live.

I still drive a petrol car and use an iPhone and wifi. I use fossil fuels everyday. I would like to reduce my use, however I’m limited by the technology available to me.

This DIY makes me feel good because when I don’t use tea leaves, I can create a product that (at least to my limited knowledge) impacts the environment less than purchasing store bought firelighters.


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