Plastic Free Tea Packaging
We obsess over packaging so that you can enjoy your tea guilt free and feel confident the ingredients have been kept in the best possible condition.
Making your everyday tea a sustainable choice
The use of plastics and single-use plastics have deservedly received a lot of coverage showing the devastating impact they are having on our wildlife and in particular our marine life. And yet so many companies continue to use plastic because it's convenient and cheap. Given tea is the second most consumed drink globally (after water) it’s a no brainer to make sure this daily habit is as environmentally sustainable as possible.
Our 25 year commitment to sustainable packaging
From the start we've been making conscious decisions not to follow trends where the packaging or materials used don't fit with our beliefs. As a consumer goods company selling 100,000's of packs of our products every year, we need to play a role in supporting change and caring for our planet.
It's so important that our organic tea is in plastic-free packaging that's kind to our planet, and for us to be transparent about how we do this.
So let’s clear up some of the questions about our packaging!
What’s in your tea bags?
- Unbleached paper - made from plant-based wood pulp
- Organic cotton string
Organic tea leaves
We were the first tea company in the UK to use the stitch method on our tea bags as opposed to using plastic based glues, which many well-known brands still rely on. The glues in these tea bags contain small micro plastics and nano plastics which instantly release on contact with boiling water, these then find their way into soil, sea, and even the human body. You can find out more about which tea brands still use plastic in their tea bags and packaging via the Ethical Consumer website.
Are you 100% plastic free?
We are almost there! Only our Earl grey and Green Tea & Jasmine tea envelopes contain a very thin coating because we use organic bergamot oil in these which needs a barrier to avoid it escaping the product. These are biodegradable but not plastic free (that is the problem, biodegradable claims DON’T mean plastic free, you can find out more about these differences further down the page)
Our Loose Leaf Earl Grey is plastic free.
Why do you individually wrap your tea bags?
- Unlike many commercial companies our teas don’t have any flavourings so they need to be wrapped to ensure the fresh flavour remains through the 3 year life of the packed product.
- The “heat seal tea bags” (the type you buy from Clipper tea) are not compostable and contain PLA. They are wrapped in different types of foil/polypropylene and placed in an outer box depending on the brand. We believe that this is not the most sustainable way to pack Tea. Our tea bags are made from plant-based wood pulp and are 100% recyclable, biodegradable and, most importantly, home compostable.
- Tea is a hygroscopic plant which means that it will absorb moisture, aromas and atmospheric contaminants leading to a loss in quality and ultimate enjoyment. Our paper-based sachets keep the flavour of the tea during the life of the box
- Apart from Earl Grey and Green Tea & Jasmine, all of the tea envelopes are plastic free and compostable.
Do your Loose Leaf Teas come in plastic pouches?
It may look like plastic, but it most certainly is not! We made it a priority to source sustainable plastic alternatives, and discovered the environmentally friendly – NatureFlex TM
Nature Flex TM is a new material that feels and looks like plastic, but it is actually made of renewable wood pulp. Why we love it?
- GMO Free
- Home Compostable
- Approved for Marine Biodegradation
- Sourced from Sustainably Managed Trees
- Lower Carbon Footprint
Overall drinking Loose Leaf tea is the most sustainable way to have your daily cuppa. The leaves are of a higher quality and there is much less packaging involved. You can discover our full Loose Leaf range here.
What’s the difference between biodegradable, home compostable and industrial compostable?
There tends to be a lot of confusion around the terminology used with sustainable packaging, particularly around the differences between biodegradable, industrial compostable and home compostable. Here’s our quick guide!
Biodegradable means that a material will break down into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water when exposed to microorganisms in a landfill. This can take anywhere from six months to 10 years to happen. Biodegradable plastics are a good example of this and whilst they might break down faster than normal plastics, they can still stay around for a long time and can be extremely harmful to our wildlife and marine life.
Industrial compostable materials are designed for industrial applications where there are high-temperature aerobic digesters (e.g., commercial composting facilities). You’ll see some tea brands use bio-plastic (derived from renewable resources such as sugar cane or corn) and polylactic acid (PLA), which can come from renewable resources such as corn starch or sugar cane. These materials will require specific industrial composting conditions to breakdown into natural elements, and you can't be certain that waste will find its way into the sites that manage this composting.
Home compostable is a term used to describe materials that are able to fully decompose in an accessible environment, such as your own home compost. These materials will break down much quicker than ordinary materials, and can be fully decomposed within 90 days.
If you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint, home compostable is the way to go.
Want to give it a try? The RHS have some great resources to get you started!