Waitrose has launched a fully certified compostable own-brand teabag, becoming the latest retailer to promise tea drinkers a more environmentally friendly brew.

All teabags sold in its Duchy range are now accredited with a TUV OK Compost Home Certification, which means they can now be disposed of directly into a home compost bin or heap.

Waitrose has also reduced the ink coverage used on the teabag labels, ensuring they can break down more effectively.

“The reality is that our customers want to make whatever changes they can to ensure they’re shopping, eating and drinking more sustainably,” said Christina Capellaro, Waitrose packaging development manager.

“By securing accreditation for products such as our Duchy home compostable teabags, we’re reassuring our customers that by making these little changes to their shopping habits, they can reduce their impact on the environment.”

The switch could save an estimated 4.5 million teabags going into landfill within the first year, Waitrose said. However, the retailer will continue to sell its existing stock of Duchy teabags in their original packaging, which does not specify they are compostable.

With an estimated 100 million teabags used in the UK every day, according to The UK Tea & Infusions Association, supermarkets and manufacturers have been racing to develop fully biodegradable teabags.

In October, Asda announced it would remove plastic packaging from 550 million of its own-brand teabags, and instead wrap them in a material derived from corn starch. It followed a similar pledge from Sainsbury’s in 2021, to remove plastic from its own-brand Red Label range.

In brands, meanwhile, PG Tips is fully biodegradable after the fmcg giant removed the outer packaging from all bags in September 2021. It first introduced plastic-free teabags on a limited range of SKUs in 2018.