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There are few things that are so quintessentially British as having a cup of tea. So much so that we consume a whopping 100,000,000 cups of the stuff every single day in the UK. 

Whether it forms a part of your early morning routine or is your go-to remedy for a long, hard day, that familiar sound of a boiled kettle and a teabag dropping into a mug is really quite satisfying.

Once your tea has brewed, you pop your teabag into the compost feeling reassured that you’re doing your bit for the environment. But did you know that many teabags we buy contain polypropylene? This means that your compost, as well as your cup of tea, are often filled with harmful microplastic particles that can make their way into the ground.

Plastic Free July® has got us considering our environmental impact as an agency at Eleven, down even to the cups of tea we drink in the office. So to mark this year’s global plastic-free movement, we’re taking a look at the impact even a humble teabag can have on the environment. And looking at the plastic-free options currently available on the market.


How can you tell if your teabags contain plastic?

When browsing the tea and coffee aisle at the supermarket, you’ll probably think that many tea brands are doing a grand plastic-free job at first sight. The majority of brands will sell their teabags in cardboard boxes with no obvious signs of single-use plastic.

But quietly behind the scenes, many tea brands are in fact using polypropylene, which is a sealing plastic, to keep their teabags from falling apart inside the box or whilst infusing in your mug. It may not seem like a big deal, but this plastic is neither recyclable nor biodegradable. So sadly even if you pop your teabag in the food waste bin or the compost heap, the harmful chemicals that can’t be broken down will eventually seep their way into the ground. Contributing to the ever-growing problem of plastic pollution.


So which tea brands can you actually trust?

According to research conducted by Country Living, there are a few brands who are already taking great steps to ensure that their tea bags are plastic free. And thankfully many of these can be found on shelves in most supermarkets. These brands include:

  • Clipper
  • PG Tips
  • Pukka Herbs
  • Teapigs
  • Twinings pyramid range

Sadly, many of our familiar favourites currently still contain plastics. But several are already working on creating a plastic free alternative. Brands that are working hard to introduce these very soon include the likes of:

  • Yorkshire Tea
  • Tetley
  • Co-op


We’re always looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact and cut down on plastic waste as an agency. Switching to buying only plastic free tea bags is just one of the many ways that we’re looking to make a change this month.

How are you recognising Plastic Free July this year?

The information contained in this blog may have changed since the date of publication.

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