The traditional teabag was first introduced in the 1940s and is used widely by most tea blenders in the UK. This type of teabag uses a very small amount of plastic that is embedded into the paper to help seal the edges of the bag when they are pressed together and heated. Without this seal, the teabags would split open and release the tea leaves inside.
Having undertaken extensive quality tests, from January 2020 we are changing all our traditional teabags into a new type of paper that is entirely plant based and fully biodegradable when placed into local authority composting. For example, your council food-waste or garden-waste bin.
Some of our ‘tag’ teabags (those that consist of a teabag with a string and paper tab) are already made from a similar biodegradable plant fibre, or cellulose, based paper that is folded and then stitched with cotton. We are also working to transfer all our ‘tag’ teabags into this same material during the first half of 2020.
Our premium hot and cold ‘mesh’ teabags look as though they are made from plastic, but this is actually a corn-starch derived material that will also degrade in local authority composting.
We know that not everyone has access to a local council compost bin. If that is the case, the best way to dispose of your teabags is to empty the tealeaves into your home compost and put the bag in the bin.
Our ultimate aim is to find a teabag paper that is fully compostable in home-garden compost as well as industrial composting. As of yet, we are not aware of any suitable material being commercially available, but we are continuing to work with our tea bag suppliers on this as our ideal long-term solution.
In the meantime, if you would prefer to switch to the use of loose leaf teas that can go directly onto the home compost heap, we already offer a wide selection for you to choose from.