Clipper tea bags now completely renewably-sourced


Public outcry about and subsequent resistance to tea bags made with polypropylene has compelled brand owners to take action. The latest to do so is Clipper Teas, the tea brand owned by natural and organic food company Wessanen UK.

xThe company announced in April of this year that it had committed to use only fully biodegradable tea bags by summer 2018.
It was a little later than that, but on October 20, the companysaid it  moved all production to ‘plastic-free, unbleached and non GM (genetically modified) tea bags’, adding: “And we won’t be going back!”
There will be a transition period of up to a few months while retailers sell through current stock, said the company as “we don’t believe in waste”.
According to Clipper, the polypropylene in the tea bag paper originally served to heat seal the two layers of the unbleached tea bag paper together.
The company has now developed an alternative tea bag paper, made from natural, plant based materials – a blend of abaca (a species of banana), plant cellulose fibres and a PLA (polylactic acid) derived from non-GM plant material that helps hold the paper together. In the past, while aware of the availability of this plant-based option, Clipper had never used or considered using PLA, as the corn used as feedstock in the PLA made by one major manufacturer could be from GM sources.
Since then, other producers have also entered the market, offering PLA guaranteed to be from a non-GM source and enabling Clipper to make the switch to a 100% renewably-sourced tea bag paper. To let consumers know about the change, an on-pack flash will be rolling out on specific products from January 2019.
Clipper is claimed to be the world’s largest buyer of Fairtrade tea. It exports its products to over 50 countries worldwide. Its parent company, Wessanen UK, is CarbonNeutral certified. and either directly or through its subsidiaries, accredited by or a member of a range of industry bodies and associations including; the Fairtrade Foundation; the Soil Association; the UK Tea & Infusions Association, and the Organic Trade Board.


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