Is it appropriate for my girlfriend to stop reusing teabags?

You Be The Judge: Should My Girlfriend Stop Reusing…

The prosecution: Simon

I’d like my partner to stop reusing teabags and not leave half-drunk tea mugs strewn about our apartment.

Emma makes frequent use of teabags. She takes them out of old mugs of milky water or sets them aside on the kitchen counter to be used later. I believe it’s strange and disgusting. The teabag will have absorbed all of the old milk.

She is constantly brewing new cups of tea because she loses track of how many she has on hand. Our apartment is littered with half-drunk mugs that she can’t seem to keep track of. She has no idea how long they’ve been seated.

When I open the curtain in the morning, there will be three mugs on the window sill, all full and with the teabag still in them. I’ll go to the bathroom and knock over a cup of tea that’s been left behind the door, as well as a mug on the bath’s side. When I was putting the clothes in the dryer recently, I discovered a teabag that had exploded in the wash. I’ve even discovered a teabag in the shower drain — what the hell is up with that?

She claims that reusing old teabags is an environmentally good move, but this is nonsense: the fact that she throws away so much tea on a regular basis – because she forgets to finish her beverages – negates the environmental benefit.

We now work from home together, and while I only require one or two cups per day, Emma requests one every 20 minutes, despite having a full cup beside her. «Oh, I forgot to drink it,» she says, defending herself by stating she’ll reuse the bag, but she doesn’t reuse nearly as much as she wastes.

Emma needs to quit fooling herself into thinking she’s saving tea by removing teabags from old cups — it’s merely an excuse for her forgetfulness. Teabags, after all, are supposed to be used just once; otherwise, the flavour will be lost — everyone knows that.

The defence: Emma

It’s fine to reuse teabags, and as for leaving cups laying around, I’m the one who cleans up the most.

I come from a long line of people who reuse teabags. A ramekin, a mug with an old teabag, and a tea-stained spoon are kept by the kettle in my family’s home. It’s entrenched in you. I grew raised on a farm where food was repurposed. «Waste not, want not,» my grandparents say.

Teabags aren’t single-use in my opinion; you can drink from the same one up to three times. People boil tea for up to five minutes, so I use the same bag to make a lot of tiny brews. After one use, an oily scum forms on the side of the cup, which you may brew out with consecutive uses. This, according to Simon, is unsanitary. I tell him he needs to quit whining about tea and start thinking about the environment.

My father died earlier in the pandemic, and I returned to the farm. Simon rushed to my aid, as well as my mother, brother, and grandparents. We all drank a lot of tea while grieving. Simon had a fit one day, yelling at me and my brother, who also reuses teabags and stacks them on the kitchen counter. Simon claimed that we were oblivious, that we didn’t put things away, and that we should attempt meditation. He smelled the fresh food and double-checked the [use-by] dates. I told him he needed to try reusing more items because he wastes so much in our shared flat.

Simon claims that I’m justifying a harmful habit by using my family history, but this is how I was raised. In the partnership, I drink more tea. I’m not going to apologize for reusing the bags; it’s good for the environment.

I have a habit of leaving old mugs about the home, but who cares? In our relationship, I’m the neat freak. All of the vacuumings, mopping, and dusting is done by me. Simon strews crumbs all over the table, creating grime, whereas I simply reuse items and occasionally forget where I put cups. His terrible behaviours aren’t comparable to my inherited teabag habit, so I don’t think he can claim the moral high ground.

The jury of Guardian readers

Should Emma throw her teabags away after each use?

Teabags, I imagine, can be used multiple times by one person, yet sharing teabags may spread infections. There are a variety of additional uses for tea bags, such as gardening, that are maybe less problematic.
Corinne, 52

The weak tea is the most serious offence here. A teabag should yield a decent cup of tea. Putting that aside, Emma should reuse the teabags but be consistent with it: milk and water are also resources, and she doesn’t seem to mind squandering them.
Adam, 48

Simon, Simon There are far more important things in life than misplaced mugs and triple-dunked teabags. It’s a well-known fact that if you want to comment on your partner’s housekeeping, you must have made an unquestionable contribution to it. Simon, if you clean up a little more, you’ll be able to express your thoughts.

Maybe.Charlotte, 43

I don’t mind using a teabag for numerous brews, but the idea of half-drunk mugs hanging about the house is a mouldy surprise waiting to happen. Drink up! Treat each beer with the respect it deserves.
Dan, 28

Emma’s statement seemed to be less condemning. What is the real tension you’re seeking to resolve? It’s not about teabags or the environment. Because you’re both flawed, you waste and make messes — don’t be so harsh on each other. Instead of talking about principles, try starting from a gentler place and talking about feelings.
Anne Marie, 31

Last week’s result

We asked Naila last week if she was being too particular with her baby’s name, which irritates her husband, Ameen.

93{ee90bd62ba4529ba4c3e914e17f4a1da146b288966ffc09ef6d51356069df260} of you said no – Naila is innocent
7{ee90bd62ba4529ba4c3e914e17f4a1da146b288966ffc09ef6d51356069df260} of you said yes – Naila is guilty

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