A TEA firm based in west Dorset has developed the world’s first plastic-free, non-GM and unbleached heat-sealed tea bag.

Beaminster-based Clipper Teas has produced the innovative design after a long period of detailed trials and material sourcing.

Clipper has never used or considered using PLA, a material used by other manufacturers, in the past as it usually derives from corn which may be from GM sources.

Guided by its organic principles, Clipper Teas is committed to being GM-free and therefore took time to develop a solution that fully aligned with the principles of the brand and was guaranteed to be from non-GM sources.

The company makes an extensive variety of teas and coffees - from everyday blends to green tea and infusions and exports to more than 50 countries worldwide.

Every Clipper heat-seal tea bag now produced in Wessanen UK’s Beaminster tea factory will be made from a natural plant-based material; a blend of abaca (a species of banana), plant cellulose fibres and PLA – a bio-polymer derived from non-GM plant material that helps hold the paper together.

This latest innovation from Clipper is driven by brand owner Wessanen UK’s wider mission to be connected to nature and minimise its environmental impact.

Emma Vass, CEO at Wessanen UK, says: “We believe in making ethical and sustainable choices and want to provide the best products for both our consumers and the world we live in. Having worked tirelessly to find a completely natural, non-GM solution, it is fantastic to see the new tea bags now in full production. As a brand, Clipper is all about the joy that comes with each and every cup of tea – and we believe the purest joy comes with a clear conscience.”

Rebecca Vercoe, Clipper Teas brand controller at Wessanen UK, adds: “We are incredibly proud to be the first tea brand to introduce a plastic-free tea bag that’s also non-GM and unbleached. Guided by our founding principles of natural, fair and delicious, we have always strived to do the best we can for people and the planet. Now we’ve created and implemented a plastic-free bag, we won’t be going back.”

To avoid unnecessary waste, there will be a transition period while retailers and venue operators sell through existing stock. However, any products now produced are guaranteed to be made with the innovative new tea bag paper. To let consumers know about the change, an on-pack flash will be rolling out on specific products from January 2019.