UK-based supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has announced plans for a mass roll-out of its first plant-based own-brand teabags.
The teabags will be available in all stores from June. The company is currently conducting trials.
The company is testing plant-based plastic polylactic acid (PLA) from the sugars in cornstarch, cassava or sugarcane.
Unlike existing oil-based plastic teabags, PLA teabags are industrially compostable and disposable in kerbside food or garden waste bins.
The announcement is in line with the company’s ongoing commitment to reduce plastic packaging to 50% by 2025 and to become Net Zero across its own operations by 2040.
Sainsbury’s product, packaging and innovation director Claire Hughes said: “This extensive rollout of our new teabags, is another example of how we are looking to implement new innovative products that will reduce the impact our business has on the environment.
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“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 rollout in stores this year.”
With this, Sainsbury’s will replace more than 815 million individual teabags with oil-based plastic to plant-based plastic a year.
Currently, the supermarket’s own brand teabags contain up to 75% natural fibres and 25% oil-based plastic sealing material (polypropylene).
Sainsbury’s also plans to remove the outer plastic wrapping from 11 products, which will help the retailer to remove more than 5.3 million pieces of plastic a year.
In October, UK premium tea brand Dorset Tea announced the launch of its fully sustainable packaging.