Plastic free tea

← Return to all blogs

Is there plastic in Canton teabags?

NO. After the media revelation earlier in the year that many teabags contain plastic, we’ve had a number of people ask us if Canton pyramid teabags contain plastic.

Biodegradable Plastic

If, like us, you’re on a mission to reduce single-use plastic, you’ll be pleased to know our pyramid teabags are (and have always been) proudly plastic free. As Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, told HuffPost UK:

“There is no reason why enjoying a cuppa should mean adding to our plastic waste problem."


What are they made of then?

We use a material from Japan called Soilon made from cornstarch, a plant material which is a renewable resource which is heat sealed rather than glued. This biomass material is a polylactic acid and is certified commercially biodegradable, so can be put in your food waste collection bin, although not in a domestic compost heap. It breaks down harmlessly into water and CO2.

After a lot of research and working with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, of which we are long-term members and supporters, this is currently the most environmental option available for teabags. Surprisingly, ‘paper-feel’ teabags generally contain plastic (otherwise they would disintegrate in hot water). NB Not all pyramid bags are cornstarch like ours - some pyramids are made from nylon ie plastic.

The SRA comments:

“Plastic plays a crucial role in the day to day operation of most food service businesses. Right now the sector is facing an unprecedented level of awareness and pressure over its environmental impact. Call it the Attenborough effect, or just a long time coming, but the tide is turning and the public is demanding change when it comes to single-use plastic. Tackling plastic use in your business can be a confusing and frustrating task. With so many types of plastic to cope with, and an ever-increasing number of confusing ‘environmentally friendly’ alternatives coming to market, knowing how and where to start, and what answers are the best answers, is easier said than done.”


What about the outer packaging?

Our new individually wrapped teabag range come in dual purpose cardboard boxes, so they are fully recyclable and double as a great counter top display. We are also introducing bulk refill packs later in the year, so the cardboard boxes can be reused multiple times. The wrap for the pyramids is now made from a recyclable paper with a very fine film of plastic. However, the manufacturers of this innovative material are close to having a fully biodegradable material with all the barrier properties we need. As soon as it is available we will switch.

We’re working very hard to find a plastic free option for the outer bag we use for our naked pyramid teabags and outer teabags, and earlier this year introduced a new bag lined with 30% less plastic than before. However, right now we do not believe there is a suitable option available for tea which is 100% plastic free. Tea has a long shelf life, and so the packaging must have the high barrier protection to retain the quality and freshness of the tea inside, by keeping it in the dark and airtight.

We are always looking at ways to reduce waste and are pushing the industry towards developing better reusable, recyclable and biodegradable materials. In the meantime, we have streamlined our range so each bag of tea is now only available in one, larger pack size.

Recent journals

COVID-19 Safety Statement

Boost Your Tea Revenue

How to Make Your Tea Service More Sustainable

Hey Restaurants: Give Tea a Chance

How To Create An Award Winning Tea Service

Next Generation Water Boilers

The Three T's

Top Teas for Tea Cocktails

Recipe: Wild Vietnamese Old Fashioned

Canton Wild Vietnamese Cinnamon In Pictures

Why You Should Offer Retail Tea in Your Cafe

New Canton Retail Cubes

Canton's Plastic-Free Pyramid Teabags

Recipe: 'Flamingo' Tea Cocktail

Recipe: Canton Matcha Affogato

Recipe: Canton Mediterranean Tea and Tonic

Canton Supplier: The Obubu Tea Garden

Canton Matcha Cooler

Super Simple Iced Tea

Canton Tea and the invention of English Breakfast

Golden Week: A goldmine for afternoon tea sales

The Canton Veganuary guide to dairy-free tea

Mulled Canton Berry and Hibiscus Recipe

The Wolseley Tea Caddies

Tea antioxidants and free radicals

Canton signature tea cocktail

Is green tea good for you?

Canton is hiring

Canton Chocolate Noir and the vanilla dilemma

The chemical profiles of different tea styles

Plastic free tea

The Wolseley launches Canton sparkling tea

Where to enjoy Afternoon Tea Week

Tea: the magical ingredient - in beer

Canton Tea at The Wolseley

A guide to Chinese green tea

More than just a new look

5 hotels we love to visit

Canton Tea at World of Coffee Amsterdam

The perfect English Breakfast tea blend

Matcha Peachu cocktail recipe

Genmaicha and Japanese tea history

Teas of the eighteenth century English tea trade

How to make the perfect cup of English Breakfast

Iced Matcha Latte Recipe

Tea and caffeine - myth and truth

A guide to Chinese black tea

Psychopomp x Canton

Wild teas and wild herbs from remote regions

Nepali tea. History and the Jun Chiyabari garden

The best gluten free bakery in London?

Where to buy Canton tea to enjoy at home

The most sought-after Japanese green tea?

The season, flush and flavour of Darjeeling

Beyond fairtrade in Taiwan

Ethical and responsible sourcing of tea

Open Weave Tea House

From poppies to roses

The tea that began it all: Pouchong

Is Canton Tea organic?

How to brew Chinese tea