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09/04/2019

Becoming Plastic-Free

Last year, we set ourselves the challenge of removing as much plastic from our packaging as possible. We have made some great steps in the right direction at Tea HQ since then and we thought it was high time we shared our progress with you all.

A WIN FOR THE PLANET AND A WIN FOR AWESOME TEA.

Swapping over to plastic-free packaging has always been on the cards for us and we started by changing our old nylon tea bags to a compostable cornstarch material back in July 2017.

After Blue Planet II aired at the end of 2017, we saw an immediate reaction and were inundated with questions by email, phone call and website chat about how we use plastic in our packaging. This gave us a kick to put those plans of changing to plastic-free packaging into gear right away. Plus, the few of us at Tea HQ who had missed the show quickly rushed home to catch up...

It took a lot of researching, plenty of grilling potential new suppliers, many samples of new materials, heat sealer test after heat sealer test {cheers, Ana!} - but we finally found a new material that we were happy with, which stood up to the quality we needed to keep our tea fresh, and most importantly, was completely plastic-free. Celebratory cups of tea were had.

SO, WHICH OF OUR PACKAGING IS NOW PLASTIC-FREE?

The great news is that all of our boxes of tea are now plastic-free! That includes:

- All 1/4lbs packs of tea
- All boxes of 15 tea bags
- All boxes of 40 tea bags

When you buy a box, you’ll now see our handy plastic-free tea card inside which explains all of the types of material we use to pack our tea and the best way to recycle them - wahey.

 

A LITTLE ON OUR TEA BAGS...

When we changed our tea bag material from nylon, it was important to us to keep up the quality of our tea bags so started searching for something that looked and worked just as well. They are now made from a compostable mesh called SOILON, which is made from corn starch. It is non-toxic, environmentally friendly and once broken down, it turns into CO2 and water - nice and simple.

Recycling your tea bags
Once you’re finished with your tea bags, bob them in your food waste bin so they can be industrially composted in 45 days.

AND WHAT EXACTLY IS NATUREFLEX?

Although the bags we are using in our boxes of tea may look like plastic, we promise you they aren’t. NatureFlex is made with wood pulp, which is sustainably harvested from FSC managed forests, and acts similarly to plastic but is fully compostable - win-win. You can spot NatureFlex by doing a quick scrunch test. Once scrunched up, it stays scrunched and doesn’t bounce back like a plastic bag would.

Scrunch Test

If you have been loving our 1/4lbs packs of tea for a while now, you may have spotted the disappearance of our yellow and white stripey bags last year. These bags had a thin plastic lining on the inside to help keep the bag tightly sealed so that your tea stayed nice and fresh until you got it home. The stripes were a firm favourite of ours and we fought tooth and nail to keep them. In the end, we just couldn’t get the stripey paper layer to work with the NatureFlex so we very sadly had to say our goodbyes.

Recycling NatureFlex
Once you’re finished with your NatureFlex, bob your bag in your food waste bin so it can be industrially composted in 45 days.

WHAT ISN'T CURRENTLY PLASTIC-FREE?

We are still working on finding an awesome replacement for our bigger bags of tea - the bags of 100 tea bag and 500g bags of loose leaf - but these will be changed over to plastic-free packs sometime in 2019. Not to worry, in the meantime you can still recycle these bags under recycling code 7, so have a quick check with your local council to see if they take them.

Next steps
Moving over to plastic-free packaging is going to be a long journey. It is going to take us time to find materials that stand up to the quality we want for our packaging but also work the best for the environment. We reckon our SOILON tea bags and NatureFlex bags are great plastic-free alternatives for the meantime which is why we started to make the swap, but are always going to keep a peeping eye open and an ear to the ground for any new materials that appear and are an even better step in the right direction.

If you hear of anything, let us know by dropping us an email to hello@brewteacompany.co.uk

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