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Tea bags & recycling

I drink a fair amount of tea, often black tea, but I’m branching out into other types. Triggered by the small print on a recent advertising flyer, I started looking into what is possible to recycle.

First realisation – I thought this would be a bit easier to discover. In general it is not simple to get clear answers to ‘what bit of your tea product should I put where’. I’m sure there are excuses behind this – ‘we are a global brand, the recycling rules are different in different locations’, but something has to change, most people are not going to do even the quick research I did.

Second realisation – loose tea would probably be better.

Anyway, looking into some of the tea bags we have in our kitchen, actually three brands and two specific Coop teas, I tried to figure out which parts of the product can be recycled. There’s a table below with the details, but if asked to rank these, I’d go with:

  1. Coop Kamillentee – great result, good information on the packaging, but Eco-score page is confusing
  2. Pukka – great result, packaging information could be clearer, pretty easy to find the information online
  3. Coop Ginger Kick – information available, but doesn’t quite explain the envelope / bag situation. For example – where is that plastic you talk about?
  4. Twinnings – they seem like they want to do the right thing, but that plastic wrap should just go
  5. Sirocco – not clear they care, also look at how much plastic is in their gift products

Twinnings *PukkaSiroccoCoop Bio KamillenteeCoop Karma Ginger Kick
– box wrap⛔️ plastic✅ no wrap✅ no wrap✅ no wrap✅ no wrap
– box✅ cardboard✅ cardboard✅ no information, but  cardboard. However, many Sirocco products come in plastic boxes.✅ cardboard✅ cardboard
– teabag envelope⛔️ laminated paper and poyethylene✅ paper⛔ no️ information, but certainly not paper✅ paper❓no information, but some plastic in product
Tea bag
– bag/tea✅ compost✅ compost⛔️ biodegradable, but recommend household trash✅ compost❓no information
– label✅ paper✅ paper❓no information✅ cardboard❓no information

* Twinnings appear to vary based on the tea, it seems that their pyramid tea bags have labels that should go in household waste. The rectangular teabags (eg English Breakfast Tea) have paper labels.

Reference information



These three pages appear to contradict, maybe something is out of date, but given the current product still comes with what appears to be plastic around the box, I’m assuming it is not as good as the first link implies.


Coop Bio Kamillentee:

Coop Karma Ginger Kick:


Post photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

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