Waitrose launches home-compostable packaging for own-brand tea bags

UK – British retailer Waitrose, a portfolio company of John Lewis Partnership, has announced that it will now sell its own-brand tea bags in certified home-compostable packaging.

Waitrose says that its Duchy tea bags have been accredited with a TUV OK compost Home certification, allowing consumers to place tea bags directly into a home compost bin or heap.

According to Waitrose, the compost can then be used to enrich the soil in the garden and using tea bags in compost adds a nitrogen-rich component which is beneficial for the plants.

Waitrose has claimed it is ‘the first UK supermarket’ to sell certified own brand home compostable tea bags.

The retailer added that the “packaging on the tea bag tags has also been amended to reduce ink coverage, ensuring the tea bags can break down more effectively”.

Christina Capellaro, packaging development manager at Waitrose said: “The reality is that our customers want to make whatever changes they can to ensure they’re shopping, eating and drinking more sustainably.

“By securing accreditation for products such as our Duchy home compostable tea bags, we’re reassuring our customers that by making these little changes to their shopping habits, they can reduce their impact on the environment.”

The tags attached to the tea bags have also been redesigned to cut down on the amount of ink used and encourage a more effective decomposition process.

It is hoped that the switch will save 4.5 million Waitrose Duchy tea bags from going to waste in its first year.

To further reduce waste, Waitrose says it will continue to use existing packaging in stock which will not specify the new compostable accreditation, despite all Duchy tea bags purchased in-store or online now being possible to process via a home compost bin.

This move comes barely two weeks after the retailer announced plans to replace glass bottles with aluminum can for small-format wine ranges.

The retailer claims this move will save 320 tonnes of packaging in the first year and marks a “significant step” towards reducing its carbon footprint.

“We’re delighted to pioneer this move and make reducing waste even easier for our customers,” said Barry Dick, the Waitrose beer, wine and spirit bulk sourcing manager at the time.

“Aluminum cans weigh significantly less than glass and create less than half the amount of CO2 than the equivalent single-use glass bottle. Cans can also be recycled an infinite number of times.”

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