To: Paul Polman, CEO of PG Tips & Unilever

Remove plastics from tea bags

Remove plastics 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.


Reasons for signing

  • It’s a no brainer - it’s harmful to the environment, marine life and leaves s legacy for our children and their children. Safety before shareholders and profits.
  • We need to stop polluting with plastics, and move out of the dark ages!
  • We MUST reduce the amount of plastic we use unnecessarily.

Updates

2018-02-10 13:15:18 +0000

200,000 signatures reached

2018-02-05 14:32:57 +0000

150,000 signatures reached

2018-02-05 12:42:33 +0000

Thank you for this incredible support and the individual messages of support I have received. I hope I have managed to reply to you now.

2018-02-05 12:41:01 +0000

Since writing to you last, the petition has gone stratospheric! It is now on the verge of passing 150,000. Another push should mean that it passes this point .. it would be incredible to hope it could pass the 200,000 signature mark, though ....

2018-02-03 10:00:30 +0000

100,000 signatures reached

2018-02-01 21:09:44 +0000

50,000 signatures reached

2018-02-01 17:42:03 +0000

20,000 signatures reached

2018-01-31 15:20:09 +0000

10,000 signatures reached

2018-01-22 11:08:33 +0000

Since the New Year, the petition has been picked up by ITV Wales news, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Wiltshire. The petition is gaining momentum and now has almost 8,000 which I find amazing! Thanks to you all for the massive support. I hope we can now realistically get to 10,000 signatures.

2018-01-10 19:00:32 +0000

5,000 signatures reached

2017-12-20 21:25:27 +0000

As some of you will know, my petition was picked up by the Sunday Times at the weekend. I have also been interviewed by BBC Wales and have been contacted by other media channels who were also surprised about there being plastics in teabags. The petition is gaining momentum. Thanks to everyone who has signed the petition.

2017-10-31 13:01:49 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2017-07-07 06:57:58 +0100

500 signatures reached

2017-06-15 21:47:35 +0100

100 signatures reached

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.