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To: Paul Polman, CEO of PG Tips & Unilever

Remove plastics from PG Tips tea bags

28th February -

BREAKING: we’ve just won! PG Tips have today announced that they are removing plastic from their tea bags. Because 38 Degrees-ers like you stood up to Britain’s biggest tea manufacturer, there will now be 10 billion fewer fewer plastic tea bags damaging our environment every year.

PG Tips announces plans to remove plastic from tea bags:

Remove all plastic from tea bags to ensure they are fully bio-degradable/compostable.

Why is this important?

Unilever owns PG Tips, the UK's most popular cup of tea. Let's call on them to remove ALL plastics from tea bags - it is usually polypropylene. Teabags won't completely biodegrade if they have plastic in them. People in Britain drink 165m cups of tea EVERY day - with 96% of those from tea bags. That adds up to billions of pieces of plastic. As a market leader and the recent purchaser of Pukkha teas which doesn't use plastic in its tea bags, Unilever could help make a positive difference to the environment by removing plastic now.

Polypropylene is a plastic and 20% is not a small or insignificant amount when multiplied up by the millions and millions of tea bags used daily around the world. All of these plastics remains un-degraded in the environment.

There have been many campaigns to keep plastics and microplastics out of our seas, highlighting the harm they do to marine life. But the same is true of plastics on land as they can cause harm to birds and small mammals. We need to keep ALL plastics OUT of our environment.

I believe that it is possible to use another material that is biodegradable - plant or fabric based. In fact, I understand that there is already one brand of conventional teabag which is polypropylene-free made by Jacksons of Piccadilly, so it is technically and practically possible.

Let's make our environment plastic free and fully compostable with a change to the materials used in our tea bags.


2017-06-14 10:34:58 +0100

50 signatures reached

2017-06-13 06:07:56 +0100

25 signatures reached

2017-06-12 14:37:29 +0100

10 signatures reached

2017-06-10 08:52:18 +0100

I wrote to Unilever and this was their very poor response:

Hello From PG Tips,

Thank you for your recent reply to myself, Mr Armitage.

Like most of the tea bags in the UK, PG tips tea bags are made with around 80% paper fibre which is fully compostable along with the tea leaves contained in the bag. The remaining packaging includes a small amount of plastic which is not fully biodegradable, this is needed to create a seal to keep the tea leaves inside the bag.

The tea bags can be added to a compost bin and the majority of the bag will decompose quickly adding moisture and nitrogen. If people are worried about the small amount of material that is not fully compostable we would recommend removing the bag before putting the tea leaves on the compost. Tea bags CAN be composted / added to food waste collection and although there is a small amount of non compostable material this is not a problem.