Tetley cardboard packs

Source: Tetley

The teabags inside the cartons are now plant-based and compostable at kerbside

Tetley has transitioned its teabags from soft packs to cardboard cartons as part of a £26m investment.

The cartons, which have already started appearing in retailers, have no outer plastic film or inner bag.

Mirroring the “compact” size of the old soft packs, they are around 25% smaller than competitor packs, allowing more efficient transportation and use of shelf-space in store, according to Tetley.

They represent the “most significant change” to Tetley’s packaging in 30 years and were developed as no recycling facilities were able to process the layer of laminate on the previous soft packs.

Their rollout will see Tetley hit a milestone of 97% of its packaging being reusable, recyclable or compostable, in line with its commitment to the UK Plastics Pact to achieve 100% by 2025.

The teabags inside the cartons are now made from plant-based materials and can be sent for composting via kerbside food waste collection.

Tetley said it had “taken time to do this properly and avoid the issue of teabag splits, common to early adopters”.

It had developed a patented technology, allowing the plant-based tissue to be processed at high speeds while maintaining high quality, it added.

On completion of the rollout, Tetley will have removed 34.6 million pieces of non-recyclable multi-layer laminate from its waste stream and nine billion non-biodegradable teabags.

The move was “a major development for our sustainability programme on so many counts”, said Tetley head of strategy deployment & sustainability Cassie Shuttlewood.

“We’re still on a journey of improvement, but we’ll take a moment to pause and celebrate the contribution so many people have made to introduce this format,” she added.

It comes after Tetley saw value sales of its tea drop by 4.2% to £79.6 last year [NIQ 31 December 2022].