Words by Smiley Team
When you think of home habits that are bad for the environment, sitting down with a cuppa isn't the first activity that springs to mind.
But there's a surprising amount of plastic in some teabags – as well as the packaging it comes in.
That's why Clipper Teas, a Fairtrade and organic tea brand, has announced its new fully recyclable packaging – the latest milestone in its 38-year history of ethical and sustainable tea production. The Dorset-based tea brand, owned by Ecotone UK, has invested more than £1 million in the development of a new production line to create a specially designed box, which features a reinforced structure to lock in Clipper’s delicious taste and aroma, while also protecting the tea bags inside.
Bryan Martins, Clipper marketing and category director at Ecotone UK, said about the move: "After launching our industry-first biodegradable tea bag, we were determined to keep momentum and address non-essential plastics across our ranges. It has been a priority for us as a business, and we know it’s important to consumers, too.
“We have invested more than £1 million in installing brand new machinery at our Clipper factory to produce a fully recyclable box that locks in the aroma and great taste of our tea and protects the tea bags inside."
Bryan added: “From June onwards, we will also be replacing the inner foil bag within our Clipper smaller packs with PE film which will be fully recyclable with other household soft plastics at supermarket collection points.
"As a brand which stands for making ethical and sustainable choices, we are constantly challenging ourselves to minimise our environmental impact.”
The move will save a minimum of 20 tonnes of metalised plastic from going to landfill or incineration each year, in addition to the plastic Clipper eliminated through its switch to fully biodegradable plant-based tea bags back in 2018.
B Corp certified Clipper was the world’s first tea company to make all its heat-sealed teabags, unbleached, non-GM, plant-based and fully biodegradable.
In 2019, the brand went on to launch fully recyclable tea bag envelopes for its String & Tag Tea Bag range, a sustainable solution made from a 33% lighter paper-based material that is suitable for kerbside collection for the paper recycling stream. And Clipper didn’t stop there, they also switched the string that connects the teabag and tag to an Organic certified cotton.
This latest move from Clipper is driven by brand owner Ecotone UK’s Food for Biodiversity mission, through which it is committed to changing the industrial food system with sustainable and ethically produced organic, plant–based and Fairtrade products.
Ecotone UK is also part of The UK Plastics Pact implemented by WRAP – focused on eliminating problematic or single-use packaging across its portfolio as part of a circular loop model. The company is on track to meet its target for all packaging to be 100% recyclable, reusable or composable by 2025.
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