To make this happen we’ve been working with the world’s top tissue suppliers to find an alternative tissue that will work in our special high-speed, high-volume machines.
We make 280 million tea bags a week in our factory in Stockton-on-Tees, for the UK and abroad, that’s 8.8 billion a year, so we have to make sure we get it right. We want to make sure that any tea bag made from a new tissue are of the standard and quality that you (and we) expect.
Our recent trials have been encouraging and we have already produced 3 million tea bags with a new biodegradable tissue into the market with positive results. The good news is we’ve had no reports of bags splitting, which we know has been a problem with moving to this type of tissue. So, we are hopeful that we can now work to scale up our tests, so you should start to see more biodegradable bags on the shelves before the end of the year.
We’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, the advice from the UK Tea & Herbals association is if you would like to put tea on your garden compost, it's recommended that you speed up the process by ripping open the bags before placing the used tea leaves on your compost heap and disposing of the teabag paper separately in your bin. You can find out more in this video...
In 2018, Tetley signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, an initiative led and managed by sustainability experts WRAP.
Within the initiative many different types of organisations that are involved with plastic in some way are working together. The aim is to work towards a system that will keep plastics in a circular system meaning that they get used again and again and stay out of the environment. To achieve this single-use packaging needs to be eliminated through design and innovation.
The target by 2025 is for 100% of plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable; for 70% of plastic packaging to be effectively recycled or composted; and for all plastics packaging to have an average of 30% of recycled content.The UK Plastics Pact recently included tea bags in its list of single use plastic items, this brings it in line with our own standards which we are working to apply to all our products globally, not just the UK. You can find out more about the UK Plastic's Pact below...
We use individual envelopes on some of our products to protect the flavour and freshness. Whilst some of our envelopes can be recycled, we are working on moving all of our envelopes to be 100% recycled by 2021.