Tea time

Don't boil-over

Whether you're a devo-tea of a builder's brew, coffee or hot chocolate, it's time to put your mettle to the kettle. We are a nation of tea addicts, there's no denying it. We glug down about 165 million cups of tea a day, and 70 million cups of coffee, yet 2/3 of us boil far more water than we need.

Only boil what you need – any extra and you’re wasting time, money, and valuable energy.


Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.


A watched kettle never boils… especially an overfilled one. Why wait around for water you don't need to boil when you could be sitting supping a beautiful beverage?

32 million

litres of water are boiled every day in the UK only to go cold again.2


Each time water is boiled, it loses oxygen. For this reason, water that’s been boiled over and over again makes an inferior cup of tea or coffee.

For the perfect brew, use once-boiled water and add a spoonful of smugness.

Climate change

Pretty straightforward really: unnecessary boiling = wasted electricity = easily avoidable carbon emissions. And no one wants that - especially not our children or grandchildren.

For more in depth understanding of the risks and challenges of climate change, watch Leonardo Di Caprio’s film, Before the Flood.


Collectively, UK tea drinkers could save nearly £1 million a day in electricity savings by only boiling what's needed. That's not even including coffee drinkers, or anyone else boiling water for cooking1

Global Goals

In September 2017, an historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the 'Tea time' pledge, you are contributing in your own small way to the following SDG targets:

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning


It's not rocket science, just fill the kettle with what you need.

  • Do the tea call before you boil – check how many people you’re making for (and pick up brownie points while you’re at it).
  • To save you measuring the cup each time, why not draw a marker on your kettle (if it doesn’t already have one) showing how much is needed to fill your favourite mug?
  • Buy an energy efficient kettle making it nice and easy for you to only boil enough water for what you need. The Ethical Superstore have some great options.

Success Stories


in total



I used the spare water in my kettle to water my plants so it made me happy, so when I saw my flowers growing these days I was reminded of my pledge :)

Always boiled the kettle with the right amount of water a practice I have passed down to my kids

I now don't waste any water or extra electricity and it always is the little things that make a difference!

This is a good one - simple and easy to implement, not one I'd ever thought of.

This one went brilliantly. I pour water into my mug then into my kettle. I only boil what I use. :) Now I need to get better at using less water when I do my dishes. I use a basin, but I wonder what strategy I could still use to use less water... THANK YOU!

It was so easy to do, and it has made me think about water & energy use much more.

Rather than just filling kettle without thinking, it made me aware of how much I really needed.

Took a little while to break the habit of always having a full kettle but now conscientiously check beforehand to make sure I am only boiling enough water that is required.


1. 20 gCO2 wasted by boiling more than you need (source: How Bad Are Bananas? Tim Berners-Lee, page 36). 20gCO2 is emitted by 0.0403 kWh of grid electricity, which costs £0.0056 (EST, March 2016). 165,000,000 cups of tea are drunk each day in UK (source: 1. UK Tea and Infusions Association). 165,000,000 x £0.0056 = £922,137.

2. Our own calculations based on data from The Guardian: 165,000,000 cups of tea + 75,000,000 cups of coffee, assuming on average 200ml water in each = 48 mil litres of boiled water used in UK a day. 67% people admit to over filling, on average boiling double what they need (Energy Saving Trust). So that’s 48 million litres x 0.67 = 32 million litres boiled unnecessarily each day.