In short, almost all of our packaging is environmentally friendly. We have a recyclable, reusable or compostable solution for everything but our gift wrap stickers and black foils. In Australia we’ve partnered with REDcycle to collect our black foil wraps and we’re working on a similar option for more countries. Our gift wrap stickers are a work in progress.
Packaging is a hefty topic and our improvements in this space are ever evolving. As at 2022, this is our detailed progress so far:
Since June 2021 our tea has come packed in compostable teabags, made from plant-based materials. The bag (including the string) is made from Polylactic Acid (PLA), with a paper tag that’s printed with vegetable ink. They are heat sealed, making them glue and staple free. Polylactic Acid is a biodegradable bioplastic made from plant sources (in our case, corn starch). We suggest commercial compositing for these teabags and recommend checking with your local council for options on where and how to do this.
Our loose leaf tea is wrapped in plant-based polybags, which are home compostable. If your compost game is strong, they can break down within 12 weeks.
Compostable Shopping Bags
Shop in store and your tea treats will be packed in uncoated shopping bags. These can be recycled when you’re ready to be rid of them. We have added a small charge to carry bags, you can read more about this here.
Greener Gift Wrap
With the exception of our stickers (we’re working on it), our gift wrap is entirely recyclable.
Foils Need Refinement
We’re still working on our signature black refill foils, which aren’t made from a compostable material. We are in the process of investigating alternatives. As a workaround, in Australia, we’re partnered with REDcycle. REDcycle is a closed loop recycling program which enables our customers to drop off our foil bags and tea sachets at most major supermarkets Australia-wide. Once collected these items are transformed into new products like park benches, outdoor furniture and TonerPlas, a more sustainable asphalt component.
Most of our packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable and is marked with logos to support correct disposal.
RECYCLABLE GENERAL WASTE COMPOSTABLE REDCYCLE (Australia)
Inner liner of tea cubes
Teabag (including string and label)
Most of our gift wrap (excluding stickers) and our tea boxes can be recycled through home recycling.
Compost and Worm Farms
If you’re a home composter, you’ve got the green light to compost whenever you see the ‘home compostable’ label on our loose leaf tea wraps.
Our teabags are biodegradable and will eventually break down in a home composting environment however for a quicker breakdown it's best that they are commercially composted. We recommend checking with your local council about options for disposal as some councils may accept through general green waste.
All our loose leaf tea leaves can be put into your home worm farm/compost. For your worm farm we’d suggest testing different teas in a small quantity first, and recommend avoiding teas with high acidity ingredients like citrus.
Honestly, we’re just trying to be a good influence. If you can, we’d love for you to bring your own bag when you come in to shop with us. This helps us live up to our own sustainability goals, but it’s also just better for the environment on the whole.
But, we know things happen and bags get forgotten. The $1 (50p) we charge for a carry bag is invested into carbon offset initiatives we support through Qantas Future Planet.
Through Qantas Future Planet we focus our investments on two core projects. The first is called ‘Winds of Change’ and funds are used to help install wind turbines for farming communities in Madurai, India. This project has helped the community reduce power shortages and created new jobs and training opportunities.
The second is called Arnhem Land Fire Abatement, this projects provide employment and training opportunities for local rangers while supporting Aboriginal people in returning to, remaining on and managing their country. Communities are supported in the preservation and transfer of knowledge, the maintenance of Aboriginal languages and the wellbeing of traditional custodians.
For two reasons.
One, Matcha is messy. Our conclusion, after many failed attempts (and arduous cleanups), is that Matcha is too fine of a powder to be sold in refill foils.
And two… wonderful, comforting, energising Matcha is worth its weight in gold. It also happens to be just as costly. Matcha comes with a high price tag due to its intensive creation process and anything higher than 50 grams starts to teeter into the “way too exxy” basket. For this reason we prefer to keep the quantities low.
Our B Corp status? Thriving. We’ve been B Corp certified since 2020 and the team is currently in the process of recertifying by the end of 2022.
As a B Corp community we actively work on reducing inequality, lowering levels of poverty, creating healthier environments (inside and outside the office) and building stronger communities.
As we approach recertification it’s up to us to show that we have not only maintained our standards since 2020, but that we have improved in the above areas.
You can read about our B Corp journey here or if you’ve got a specific question, we’re always around to answer it. Contact us here.
Our design philosophy has been reimagined to reflect our sustainable ambitions, it keeps sustainability best practice front of mind and emphasises the use of natural materials and finishes. We continue to pull from recycled timbers and sustainably certified materials while also branching out, discovering innovative suppliers and local manufacturers.
To really explore the opportunities for sustainable design in 2019 we set out on a year long project to open our first five star Green Star store at Bondi Junction. It was through this experience that we came upon Betta Stone (an Australian made product made of 80% recycled glass) , as well as floor tile from Earp Bros that has 69% less of an impact on global biodiversity and contributes 57% less greenhouse gas emissions than standard products. Following our Bondi opening we have continued to adopt similar design principles for future builds.
In addition to the above improved design elements, all five of our latest Australian refurbs have had Green Star lighting installed with two more to be completed by the end of the year. Our plan is to roll these elements out for all new stores and refits.
Sustainably Sourced Tea
“Sustainably sourced” is a broad term for products that carry any one of 17 accreditations. This includes Fairtrade and/or Certified Organic.
Certified Organic is just one type of accreditation awarded to products that have been grown and produced within regulated guidelines i.e. without synthetic chemicals, fertilisers or GMO’s for example.
How we label
Accreditations are always changing and evolving however our teas are (and always will be) 100% sustainably sourced. We use “sustainably sourced” because our teas are an assortment of these 17 accreditations.
To ensure that our teaware is sourced ethically we regularly monitor the working conditions within our factories. At a minimum of every 2 years, we conduct third-party audits to the standards of SMETA or BSCI. We won’t continue working with suppliers who fail these audits.
We don’t source tea directly from tea farms.
As a brand that puts people and the planet first, it is incredibly important to us that our teas have a big flavour impact, and a lighter environmental one. The process of making our teas more sustainable was a journey we began in 2018. We’ve reviewed everything, every ingredient, and left no tea leaf unturned. Where an ingredient didn’t meet our requirements it has now been removed or replaced.
Most of our teas were unaffected by this process, and the majority of our beloved Sippers can’t taste the difference where we did have to switch out an ingredient or two. Some blends have had a more significant change, Sleep Tight being one, but we stand by our decision to ensure our ingredients come from 100% sustainably sourced suppliers. Have you noticed? We’d love to hear your feedback.
We only source accredited ingredients from the start. We look for a SUSO (sustainably sourced) marking, if it doesn’t have it we don’t buy it or we work with our supplier to achieve the correct accreditations. Case and point was our recent project to source sustainable lemongrass.
Our journey started back in 2019, when we contacted our longtime supplier in Thailand about becoming Certified Organic. As they were already Thai Organic Certified they were initially reluctant about the need for another certification. Upon commitment to cover all costs of the process we were able to bring them onboard for the journey.
The process started with a pre-audit conducted by UEBT in Thailand (UEBT is the standard organisation for UTZ standard for herbs and spices). This was completed in October 2019 and involved checking production sites and farms so we could address any corrective actions that needed to take place. These were minor and allowed us to step in and support quickly with a frame contract and 3 year purchasing guarantee being drawn up and committed to in early 2020.
With a slight delay due to Covid-19, the final audit was completed in 2021 with our first UTZ certified lemongrass arriving in April of that year.
Our Certified Lemongrass lemongrass project has brought a great benefit to us, but also to the supplier. It has helped protect biodiversity in cultivation areas, improving soil health and reducing emissions as a result. Our partnership continues today with further discussions to take place (Covid-19 permitting) later this year.
We can create and share up to 10 different teawares each year. As there’s no way of gauging the amount of spare parts we’d need to stock, we would be generating a huge amount of waste if we provided spare parts for each. As part of our journey to reduce unnecessary wastage we do not stock spare parts.