Many of us don’t know that plastic is widely used in tea bags. In traditional tea bags plastic is used to allow the sealing. In some cases, even the entire tea bag could be made of plastic. To reduce the use of plastic, we have developed a plastic-free tea bag.
We developed a technology called The Fiber+. A traditional heat sealable tea bag is made with cellulose and plastic fibers to allow the sealing. With Fiber+, we replace the plastic with polylactic acid (PLA), a biopolymer usually made of corn starch. We use the same material in our BioWeb® which is renewable, biodegradable and fully compostable. The theory behind the innovation is quite simple, but it took us a lot of efforts to develop and finalize.
Many retailers engage their customers to reduce or stop plastic consumption, and this matter is getting heavily covered with multiple reports of tons of plastic being dumped in oceans every day and eventually ending back on our plates and in our bodies. By the end of this year, Fiber+ tea bags will be available in the UK-based retailer Co-op, which sells 4.6m boxes of tea a year (367m teabags).
Fiber+ will be made in Chirnside, UK. Ahlstrom-Munksjö continuously develops new solutions to replace plastic with the fiber-based solution. We have only seen the beginning of what fiber-based materials and solutions can be used for – imagine fiber.