Unilever’s UK tea brand PG Tips said that it will make its tea bags with new plant-based material that is 100% renewable and biodegradable.
The move is part of the company's plan to enhance the impact of products on the environment by switching to fully biodegradable, plant based material over the course of 2018.
The PG tips pyramid bags are currently made using paper while a small amount of polypropylene used to seal the tea bag.
However, the new material for the tea bag will be made from corn starch unlike polypropylene.
Unilever vice-president refreshment Noel Clarke said: “Tea is the most consumed beverage after water in the UK 1 with 9 billion PG tips tea bags made every year and after 85 years of making PG tips, we have a great understanding on how brits love their tea.
“The new 100% plant based material we’re moving to is an innovation based on cutting edge science and technology and we’re all really excited that, starting from now, the PG tips that you know and love will come from 100% plant based material from a renewable source that’s fully biodegradable.”
Unilever’s research and development (R&D) scientists, who have been exploring plant based alternatives for PG tips, have already converted some ranges in Canada, Poland and Indonesia.
Commenting on the PG Tips’ decision, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) organics program manager Mike Falconer Hall said: “We’re keen to see the UK’s tea drinkers recycle their tea bags and it’s great to hear that PG tips is helping them to do this with the introduction of their new fully biodegradable tea bag.
PG Tips plans to launch fully biodegradable tea bags from next week.
Recently, British supermarket The Co-op has introduced fully biodegradable paper tea bag as a part of its aim to have 80% of its product packaging to be recyclable by 2020.
Image: Unilever’s tea brands, including PG tips, are identifying new ways to make a difference to products. Photo: courtesy of Unilever.