British supermarket chain Asda has introduced plant-based packaging for its own-brand tea bags as its latest sustainability effort.

The company said its new tea bags are made from polylactic acid (PLA) derived from corn starch, which is a natural plant-based material.

The bags will replace the previously used non-renewable oil-based plastic bags.

Asda packaging technologist Jon Wells said: “We know our customers want to do all they can to reduce their impact on the environment and we want to make that as easy as possible for them.

“Tea is a staple in most customer’s households so for us to make a change which can make such a difference is a big moment for us.”

Over the next six months, Asda will roll out the tea bags across its entire range, from Just Essentials to Extra Special.

The transition to plant-based packaging will help the retailer dispose of 550 million tea bags in kerbside food waste bins a year.

Non-profit organisation Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has welcomed the move from Asda.

WRAP resource management sector specialist Adam Herriott said: “It’s positive to hear of further moves by Asda, a founding member of The UK Plastics Pact, to make innovative moves on their products and tackle plastic waste.

“We must continue to go further and ensure we bring in more changes that benefit shoppers and the environment.”

Asda operates a network of supercentres and superstores, as well as convenience-size supermarkets, across the UK.

The retailer is committed to making all its packaging recyclable by 2025.

In August this year, Asda revealed plans to remove ‘best-before’ dates from the packaging of its fresh produce in an effort to minimise domestic food waste.

The retailer will replace these with a code that its store colleagues can use to maintain product quality and freshness.