Stir Tea is packaged in resealable foil pouches, here is why:
When we released Stir in 2008 we extensively researched packaging options for loose leaf tea. By selling tea in a loose leaf style we had eliminated any of the plastic associated with individual teabags however we had to come up with a functional solution for the outer packaging. Because of the hygroscopic nature of tea, meaning that it easily absorbs odours if not covered properly, we needed a robust food safe material that provided a barrier for moisture, light and smells. We decided on foil bags as the most suitable option. By offering resealable packaging it also gives our customers the opportunity to either reuse them or repurpose them when empty.
In 2017/2018 we completed a review of our foil outer packaging to see if we could find an alternative product that is easily recycled. We have considered a number of packaging options that look really environmentally friendly on the outside e.g rice paper bags, manila paper bags but these can be heavily coated with plastic on the inside, may offer a limited (or almost no) barrier to the air for the tea and may not be any friendlier to the earth. None of these options have proved suitable.
An advantage of our current packaging is that customers are able to squeeze out the excess air from the pack each time they reseal it to ensure storage conditions for the leaves remain as moisture free as possible. This assists to maintain quality and flavour.
We are very open to any suggestions you may have on alternative packaging. If you know of a food safe material that can offer an outstanding barrier to air, light and moisture over the life of the tea then we would love to explore this.
In the meantime here are some things we can suggest:
Start a Tea Club - For online customers we offer our larger size bags which are discounted. So perhaps a bunch of friends can start a tea club and place one collective order for a large bag and then have a tea party to distribute the larger bag into their own smaller airtight containers (or maybe a Stir Tea caddy).
Bring your refillable container to the Remarkables Market - We offer a service whereby customers can bring their own containers to the market one week and we bring it back the following week filled with their favourite tea (and we also pop in an extra 10% of tea to encourage our customers to do this). This market runs from mid October to mid April each year and this service has proved popular with customers who bring either their empty Stir Tea foil bags back to reuse or a container of their choice. We are currently exploring drop/off collection points outside of the market time - this is a work in progress for us.
Repurpose your empty Stir Tea packaging - Once empty these resealable packets are great for storing bulk food like nuts/seeds/cookies in the pantry or provide a light and reusable container for snacks to take with you out and about. Please note some stronger tea varieties may impart their flavour into your new contents (we think this might be the best of both worlds). Repurposing options are not limited to food - think jewellery/stationary - the possibilities are endless.
Earth to Earth ......
Sometimes it is so easy to forget when you look at dried tea leaves exactly what you are drinking. All true tea is from the leaf and bud of the camellia sinesis - a vibrant glossy leafed evergreen plant full of goodness.
We take great care to source our tea leaves from the best regions in the world for quality. It is equally as important to us that we look after our local environment too and do our best to take care of the planet. One way in which we reduce waste is to repurpose our used black sampling cups from the Saturday Remarkables Markets.
We give these to Julie from Nevis Gardens based in Gibbston Valley and she uses them to grow her herb and vegetable seedlings in. Here is a picture of the seedlings nestled into their new home.
Loose Leaf Vs Tea Bags
At the moment there is debate overseas about the level of plastic used to seal teabags which might be proven to be non-biodegradable. While the manufacturers claim the amount per bag is small when this is applied across the amount of teabags that are being used it could have a significant impact on the environment. You can take heart from that fact that by choosing to drink loose leaf tea you are not contributing to this issue. Any used tea leaves that you put into your compost or onto your garden will complete the circle of life and return to the earth.
Posted: Monday 23 October 2017