Friday, 2nd March, 2018
No plastic in teapigs tea
With the current increased scrutiny on single-use plastics in their supply chain, tea and coffee companies are scrambling to eliminate plastic from their products and prove their environmental credentials. teapigs are ahead of the game. Unlike other major brands, their tea temples have never contained plastic and the majority of their product packaging can be easily reused, recycled or composted.
Louise Cheadle, teapigs’ co-founder and tea-taster, says: “There has been a lot of consumer interest lately (and rightly so) in the shocking revelation that many teabags contain plastic. The food and drink industry in general has a responsibility to move away from the use of unrecyclable plastic and to ensure that its production practices are sustainable in the long-term.
“We have had lots of concerned customers contacting us over the last few months and we wanted to put their minds at ease: our tea “temples” have never contained plastic (we use a mesh bag made from corn starch to hold our whole leaf teas) but there are lots of elements that make up our packaging and it can be quite confusing to know what to do with it all because it can depend on local recycling facilities too.
“There are things that we think we are doing well and things that we certainly need to work on, but in the interest of full transparency we have published details of all the packaging used throughout our product range.”
teapigs’ pack cartons…
teapigs packs are made from FSC certified paper board which means that the forests from which the wood is originally sourced are sustainably managed. The cartons are reusable, recyclable, and biodegradable. The ink used on the cartons is vegetable-based.
Clear inner bags inside teapigs cartons…
teapigs use clear inner bags inside their cartons to keep the tea “temples” fresh and have recently invested in switching over to a material called Natureflex. Made from renewable wood pulp, the Natureflex bags are fully compostable. All teapigs tea temples are now being packed inside Natureflex inner bags but, as with all major production changes, it will take a little while for them to filter through to product shelves. The older inner bags are made from polypropylene, which is widely recycled and can be put in with your plastic recycling.
teapigs tea “temples” have never contained plastic. The temples and string attached are made from corn starch, a natural carbohydrate extracted from corn. The label on the string is made from paper, the ink is vegetable-based and everything is sealed with heat so no glue is used at all. While the tea temples are fully biodegradable (and so will eventually naturally break down), teapigs recommend you put them in your food bin to be processed by your local council because they will take a long time to degrade in your home compost.
As for the other products in the range, teapigs metal tins of tea are made from tinplate and aluminium. They are reusable and can be recycled in your home recycling bin. Their 30g and 80g tins of matcha are made from tinplate and can also be reused or recycled. The outer carton of the 30g matcha tin is made from FSC recyclable paper.
‘We’re happy that the majority of the packaging we use can be safely reused, recycled or composted,’ adds Louise, ‘but we recognise that the packaging from our loose tea pouches and matcha sachets needs to be improved. All the materials used are technically recyclable but – because they are composites – they need to be separated to be recycled which many councils can’t facilitate. We’re working on new packaging for these two products and hope to roll it out within the coming months.’
teapigs loose tea pouches are made from paper and polyethylene. Although these are both recyclable materials, the pouch is a composite, meaning the materials need to be separated before they can be recycled, something that many councils cannot currently facilitate. teapigs’ matcha sachets are likewise a composite. Despite these two concerns, teapigs are enthusiastic in their commitment to becoming the UK’s leading environmentally-friendly tea company.