It came as a surprise to most people to learn that tea bags contained plastic. The plastic in question is polypropylene, which seals the tea bag and helps the bag retain its shape in boiling water. Is this important for the tea taste? Not really – it is said to let the tea move around more freely and brew more quickly. So, if you would rather not put plastic in your compost heap or just want to dispense with single-use plastic, what are your choices?

  1. Teapigs
    Their tea bags have never contained plastic. Their packaging inside the boxes though until recently did contain plastic. They are working on replacing this but at the moment they are not fully switched over.
  2. Duchy Organics
    Plastic-free tea bags, organic and all profits go to charitable causes. They do wrap plastic around their boxes though.
  3. PG Tips
    The manufacturer, Unilever, is aiming for all teabags to be made from 100 per cent plant based material by the end of 2018.

  4. Aldi
    The Specially Selected range is plastic-free and biodegradable. Other Aldi tea bags aren’t.
  5. Pukka Tea
    Pukka tea bags are free from plastic. They use a simple stitch of organic cotton and a unique folding process. They were the first company to use organic string to hold teabags together without the need of a metal staple or polypropylene. Each teabag comes in its own little paper envelope which includes a very thin coating of plastic that is free from BPA and PVC. It’s so thin, though, that they say it can be recycled with normal paper. Organic and Fair Trade. Owned by Unilever.
  6. Loose Leaf Tea
    I now always use loose leaf tea. It tastes much better than a tea bag dunked in a mug and no tea bag means no plastic in the compost bin. Just need to check the packaging now

Checklist – Biodegradable Tea Bags & Labels – Yes or No?

Yes – Plastic-Free

  • Brew Tea Co
  • Teapigs
  • Aldi
  • Duchy Organics
  • Steenbergs organic tea bags
  • Hampstead Tea – organic tea bags
  • We are Tea
  • Nemi
  • Abel & Cole – organic tea bags
  • Pukka Tea
  • Dragonfly Tea (envelopes not currently recyclable)

No

These companies are all conducting trials but are not currently selling plastic-free tea bags. The fact that they are conducting trials though, show the power of people making a fuss about plastic.

  • Twinings (The pyramid tea bags are free from plastic, but the attached label is coated in a thin film of plastic and can’t be recyled or composted.)
  • Tetley
  • Yorkshire Tea
  • Asda
  • Co-op
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Waitrose
  • QI Teas

Some

  • Clipper – only string and tag tea bags, not square ones
  • Typhoo – only string and tag tea bags
  • Aldi – only the specially selected range
  • Sainsbury – taste the difference range
  • PG Tips (all by the end of 2018)

Loose Leaf Tea without Plastic Packaging

Any recommendations for tea bags or loose leaf tea? Add your comments below.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Ivy’s Tea Co. is a small and woman owned herbal tea company that offers loose leaf tea. Loose leaf teas give us a full flavor that you just can’t find in bagged teas. I just can’t take the time to sort through which bagged teas are safe and which aren’t…I’ll stick to loose leaf tea.

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