Every Clipper heat-seal tea bag now produced in Wessanen UK’s Beaminster, Dorset-based tea factory will be produced from a natural plant-based material, made from a blend of abaca (a species of banana), plant cellulose fibres and polytactic acid – a bio-polymer derived from non-GM plant material.
Commenting on the launch, Wessanen UK chief executive Emma Vass said: “Having worked tirelessly to find a completely natural, non-GM solution, it is fantastic to see the new tea bags now in full production.”
In an effort to avoid unnecessary waste, Clipper proposed a transition period while retailers and venue operators sell through existing stock. New products were guaranteed to be made from the new teabag paper, it said.
Rebecca Vercoe, Clipper Teas brand controller at Wessanen UK, added: “We are incredibly proud to be the first tea brand to introduce a plastic-free teabag that’s also non-GM and unbleached. Now we’ve created and implemented a plastic-free bag, we won’t be going back.”
Clipper revealed plans to launch its plastic-free teabag in April this year, closely following Unilever brand PG Tips’ move to produce the UK’s first 100% biodegradable teabags in March.
Largest buyer of Fairtrade tea
Clipper manufactures an extensive variety of organic and Fairtrade teas and coffees – from everyday blends to green tea and infusions. It claims to be the world’s largest buyer of Fairtrade tea and exports its products to more than 50 countries.
In January, Wessanen invested £1.25m in new equipment, allowing it to manufacture all of its tea brands from the Beaminster site.
Meanwhile, last month, Clipper signed a three-year deal with EasyJet to supply the airline with six of its organic teas.