UK retailer Sainsbury’s has announced that it will launch its first plant-based own label tea bags later this year.
Currently, Sainsbury’s own label teabags are composed of 75% natural fibres and 25% polypropylene sealing material. This sealing material ensures the teabag remains intact and that tea leaves don’t seep into the cup.
However, the new plant-based tea bags will be made from polylactic acid (PLA), sourced from the sugars in cornstarch, cassava or sugarcane.
According to Sainsbury’s, the introduction of the new PLA tea bags in June 2021 will see the retailer move over 815 million individual teabags a year from using oil-based plastic to plant-based plastic, as part of its efforts to halve its use of plastic packaging by 2025.
The PLA teabags will be industrially compostable, and Sainsbury’s recommends that they are disposed of in kerbside food or garden waste bins.
As well as introducing the new PLA tea bags, the retailer has also announced that it will remove the outer plastic wrapping from 11 products, equating to 16.2 tonnes of plastic.
Claire Hughes, director of product, packaging and innovation at Sainsbury’s, said: “This extensive rollout of our new tea bags, is another example of how we are looking to implement new innovative products that will reduce the impact our business has on the environment.
“Our move towards plant-based teabags has required significant time and multiple trials to ensure that our customers receive the same great quality teabag and we look forward to the roll out in stores this year.”