Co-op Plans to Detoxify the Tea Bag

By Gary Cutlack on at

One amazing fact favoured by lots of people is that tea bags aren't as innocently papery and leafy as they appear. The vast majority of them have little plastic skeletons inside them, formed by bonding the bags  together and designed to give them the strength to survive a vigorous spooning.

The Cooperative chain thinks it will therefore be on to a big winner with its plan to remove even this from the tea bags of the near future, creating bags that are fully biodegradable and stay firm even without the polypropylene bonding agent used as a strengthener by most brands in some form or other. That's the plan, at least, with the supermarket chain hoping that the own-label tea bags it sells by the end of 2018 will do away with the need for such non-degradable glues thanks to a new heat sealing system it's testing.

Co-op's food boss Jo Whitfield said: "...when you consider the 6bn cups of tea that are brewed up every year in the UK, we are looking at around 150 tonnes of polypropylene -- that’s an enormous amount of accumulated plastic waste that is either contaminating food waste compost collections or simply going to landfill." [Co-op via Guardian]