Barry's, one of the two most popular tea brands in Ireland, has just admitted that they use the plastic polypropylene in their tea bags, which consumers have long believed to be made of paper. 

Tea drinkers are feeling let-down after learning that Barry's Tea bags contain plastic. 

While consumers have long thought Barry's tea bags to be made of paper and therefore non-toxic and compostable, the tea brand has just confirmed that they use the micro-plastic polypropylene to help their tea bags retain their shape. 

Read More: Top reasons why the Irish love a good cup of tea 

Top competitor Lyons, which is owned by Unilever, announced plans to remove all plastics from their tea bags at the end of last year after an online petition gathered over 20,000 signatures. 

Once it became known that Barry's also uses polypropylene in their tea bags, a petition was started on the Uplift website by Lisa Quinn and has since gained almost 10,000 signatures. 

“I’ve been throwing my tea bags into the compost for years,” she told the Irish Times. “When I found out I was polluting our soil and our water with microplastics, I was really disappointed with Barry’s. I’m sick of big companies being so irresponsible, and expecting everyday people to pick up their slack.”

“When I contacted Barry’s, they told me to cut open my tea bag, empty the leaves into the compost, then wash and dry the tea bag and put that in the recycling bin. It’s absurd!”

A company spokesperson told the paper they were “listening to our consumers’ concerns and working hard towards a plastic-free tea bag solution," working towards a paper-based model. 

A recent survey of IrishCentral readers found Barry's to be the favorite tea in Ireland and the UK, earning 55% of the votes. The information about plastics in their tea bags was not available at the time of that vote.