One of Britain’s biggest tea brands has gone completely plastic-free — and their new tea bags are made from bananas.
What’s more, Clipper Tea has said it’s the “world’s first plastic-free, unbleached, non-GM [genetically modified] tea bag paper.” While other brands — like PG Tips — have produced their first fully biodegradable bags this year, they're still bleached to make them look brighter.
Despite recent progress, most tea bags still contain a plastic called polypropylene, a sealant that helps them keep their shape and stops them falling apart in your mug.
Clipper will now replace that with a mixture of abaca — made from a species of banana plant — plant cellulose fibres, and PLA, a biopolymer made from non-GM plant material, according to the Independent.
The new bags will also be completely compostable and biodegradable. Food waste bins, assemble!
PLASTIC-FREE ♻️— Clipper Teas (@clipperteas) November 1, 2018
...now that's a Clipper tea bag! ☕️
Head over to our website to find out everything you need to know! 🙌
In its Dorset factory, Clipper moved its entire production line to be totally rid of plastic on Oct. 20. However, the company has clarified that it might take several months before its current stock sells out — so it might take a little bit longer to hit your shelves.
But while Clipper is the first British brand to go completely plastic-free, the rest of the industry is not far behind. PG Tips launched a fully biodegradable tea bag in February — with a commitment to make all its teabags follow suit by the end of this year. Similarly, both the Co-Op and Yorkshire Tea are developing their own plastic-free ranges.
Every single day, Britons will drink about 165 million cups of tea — over 60 billion a year. In case you were wondering, 98% of these are drunk with milk, but only 30% are taken with sugar.
But what’s important is that the British are serious about their sacred cuppa; yet might be unaware about how it contributes to plastic pollution around the world.
Indeed, a 2010 “Which? Gardening” report found that only 70-80% of tea bags from leading manufactures are biodegradable.
Globally, it’s estimated that there are over 150 million tonnes of plastic in the oceans already, with an additional 2 billion tonnes of plastic in the world by 2050 — the equivalent weight of a car for every single human being on the planet.