Does My Teabag Contain Plastic?
The dreaded P-word. Plastic. Not only is it littering our oceans and harming our wildlife, but now it’s cropping up in our morning brews. It’s been a hot topic of conversation, snowballing media attention of late, which is exactly why we wanted to discuss it with you, in depth, right here, right now.
As you may be aware, Traidcraft's Great Taste Award-winning tea is packaged locally at Ringtons, a family-run business, dating back to 1907. Whilst Ringtons may have been blending the freshest tea and coffee for over a century, their stance on sustainability certainly doesn’t sit in the past. And, as transparency is one of our core pillars, we wanted to share this information with you.
All heat-sealed teabag paper does contain a very small amount of plastic - if you include the tea leaves, typically about 1% of the tea bag total weight is plastic. This is in order to seal the tea bag material together when heated and ensure that the leaves remain in the bag and that the bag doesn’t split. Historically, teabag paper has contained a very small amount of oil-based plastic, such as polypropylene or polyethylene, in order to allow it to be heat-sealed.
Not content with settling for the non-sustainable plastic in their teabags, since August 2019, Ringtons have been testing a new, more environmentally conscious teabag material on a trial basis, and the results are looking extremely promising. This new teabag material (PLA) contains a bio-plastic, which has been made from plants. PLA material has the same necessary properties as its oil-based predecessor, but is renewable, sustainable and biodegradable. Once the teabags have passed all of the stringent tests and results are conclusive, Ringtons will begin to roll out the tea bags with bio-based plastic content. These teabags will be able to be disposed of in your council food bin or organic waste collection.
Ringtons are at the forefront of the market for sustainable teabag solutions and believe that this new paper is the most environmentally sustainable paper available at this moment in time. They’re aware that although plant-based plastic is a step in the right direction, they, and the industry as a whole, are still on a journey, and are continuing to work towards the ultimate, plastic-free solution for teabags in the future.
We will be sure to keep you informed of any progress updates, but for now, watch this space!