11/08/15

Sustainable tea breaks with tree felling tradition

Employee of makomboki tea factory picking at the factory farm.jpg

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Tea production is an energy-thirsty business. Typically, wood is burned to dry tea leaves, but forests must also be cleared to make room for plantations.
 
Now a factory in Makomboki, 85 kilometres north of Nairobi, in Kenya, is trying to reduce deforestation by using macadamia, cashew and rice husks instead of timber.
 
By doing so, it went from cutting down up to 60,000 trees a year to solely using waste biomass. But experts warn that, although this reduces waste and spares forests, the system may not be the way to go, since burning biomass still emits carbon.
 
In this audio piece, we visit the Makomboki Tea Factory to learn more.