Environmental Sustainability

Suki Tea goes Plastic free

Award-winning SUKI Tea Makers has grown to become a well-known brand, not just for great tasting loose leaf tea, but also for doing business in a responsible way.

Background

The artisan tea blender has moved away from the use of plastic packaging in its wide range of tea products as part of a longstanding commitment to the environment. Tea that not only tastes good, it does good.

What Suki Tea did

SUKI believes that quality is defined by what it sources and delivers. The business won’t settle for second best and this has been the driving force behind its vision since the very beginning.

SUKI cares about people, plant and planet, from open and responsible sourcing to how the teas it sells are packaged and transported. Anne Irwin, Managing Director, SUKI, said of the new format plastic-free packaging: “It’s been a challenge, but an important one that links closely to our core ethics and ethos. Operating in a more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner are the cornerstones of everything we do, so it was a natural next step for SUKI.”

“Our tea pyramids are made from paper, yarn and a special material called Soilon meaning, unlike some traditional teabags, our pyramid teabags are completely natural and plastic-free”.

Made from corn starch, Soilon is a naturally derived product that is fully compostable so can be disposed of in the food waste bin.

SUKI’s inner liners for retail are made of a clever film called Natureflex, created from cellulose made from sustainably sourced wood pulp. Natureflex is suitable for both industrial (council or commercial food waste) or home composting.

All this means that SUKI’s new packaging is now as environmentally friendly as the tea that goes inside it. Boxes for retailers are also made from sustainably sourced cardboard (FSC or PEFC) and are either pre-printed using vegetable-based inks or use a paper-based label.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • SUKI’s aim was to convert 40% of SKUs to plastic free packaging by May 2019, but they achieved 100%
  • SUKI investigated everything from recyclable bags to biodegradable bags (some made from natural materials and others made from composite materials which most recycling facilities reject due to their complexity). The business eventually opted for compostable bags, knowing that they were by far the best solution to protect the tea leaves, and that the message around disposal would be would be clear for all customers, regardless of location. After much trialling and testing, new foodservice pouches feature a triple layer barrier (perfect for protecting the teas) that is industrially compostable in as little as 12 weeks and fully home compostable in 12-26 weeks.

For more information, please email queries@suki-tea.com