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Brief Published: 20 Mar 2019

Tea Brands Remove Plastic from their Brews

Each year, UK consumers drink 60.2 billion cups of tea – a large percentage of which are brewed with teabags lined with non-biodegradable plastic. This industry norm is now being challenged by vocal consumers, and creative brands are responding with inventive and sustainable alternatives that could change the tea landscape forever.

  • Banana Bags: UK tea producer Clipper has developed a plastic-free, unbleached, non-genetically modified teabag made from a combination of abaca (a species of banana plant) and a non-GM plant-based material called PLM. The bags are 100% biodegradable and compostable.

  • PG Plastic-Free: In 2018, Unilever-owned British tea producer PG Tips replaced its plastic-lined teabags with a 100% biodegradable version made from corn starch. The brand took the move to remove all traces of plastic in its products following a UK petition that garnered 232,000 signatures and called for it to find a sustainable alternative.
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PG TIps
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Clipper
  • Edible Brews: UK fruit-snack producer Nim's has launched an 'edible tea' that serves as a natural hot drink infusion and snack. The teas are made from air-dried fruits and vegetables and are available in beetroot and parsnip, pineapple and kiwi and pineapple, beetroot and parsnip varieties. They've been designed as a healthy and convenient alternative to caffeinated teas, as they're high in vitamin C and fibre.
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Nim's
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Nim's

For an in-depth dive into the tea industry, read The Evolving Tea Landscape. For a broader look at sustainability challenges in the food and drink sector, see Sustainable Restaurants and Plastic Pledge: How Big Brands are Addressing Sustainability.

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