Real Leaf Tea - Plastic Free

This month, we team up with our Affiliate Member Red Box Tea in highlighting the benefits of using real leaf tea.

April 2019

What do the leaves reveal?

Last year Green Tourism got behind a national campaign to lobby the major teabag manufacturers to reveal the extent of plastic in their products and put a stop to its use. 

Even as recently as last year it was still a little-known fact that over 95% of teabags are made with a synthetic plastic-based resin which is used as part of the sealing process. Polypropylene helps strengthen the bag itself so there’s no tearing or tea loss. The big problem is, that with around 6 billions cups of tea brewed every year in the UK alone, the miniscule amount of polypropylene used for a single teabag mounts up to an alarming 150 tonnes of plastic which is either going to landfill or contaminating food waste collections and even compost.

The 2018 petition and campaign made real headway in changing the way teabags are made; with a number of household names pledging to invest in development and technology to find new ways of sealing their bags. The very good news is there is now a new 100% plant based material being developed, and PG Tips, for one, are aiming to make the switch this year.

Biodegradable teabags are great, but using traditional tea leaves is even better.  Tea leaves make an excellent contribution to a compost heap and if you make a pot, you can get an extra cup out of it – much better environmentally than re-boiling a kettle for that second brew!

If you’re involved in hospitality then chances are you get through a fair number of teabags.  We urge you to think about using loose leaf tea whenever possible but if teabags are more practical (for B&B or hotel in-room hot drink trays, for example) then we recommend the following brands which are plastic free and fully compostable:

  • Red Box Tea
  • Clipper
  • Twinings loose leaf pyramids
  • Pukka Herbs
  • Aldi Premium Specially Selected
  • Waitrose Duchy range
  • Co-operative own brand 99 range


Red Box Tea

When it comes to loose leaf tea our affiliate partner Red Box Tea – tea and coffee merchants with a flair for exciting new flavours as well as quality classics - offer a fantastic range of delicious teas; and for wholesale customers who are Green Tourism members there are free storage jars and promotional posters given away with your order (Ts and Cs apply).

Whether you go for British Breakfast or the more experimental Haggis flavour (we dare you), Red Box will deliver top notch leaf teas to your door. So freshen up the tea list at your business and get the customers talking, and more importantly, ordering that second pot...


Get your Red Box Green Tourism Member Offer here >>




Campaign Summary

Our campaign promoting the use of real tea leaves (compostable and plastic-free, unlike most teabags) proved to be as hot as a good cuppa.

To celebrate Real Tea Day in April, we ran a competition to win one of two Red Box tea hampers, and plenty of folk were keen to be the lucky ones, with our posts resulting in over 50,000 impressions on Facebook and over 40,000 on Twitter (plus a brilliant 10% increase in Twitter followers to not far off 10,000).  

The total number of entries was 482, with the randomly-chosen winners both by chance hailing from Cheshire.  We hope they enjoy making the perfect brew with the fantastic loose teas in their hampers from our Affiliate Partner Red Box.




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