UK-based tea brand Clipper is set to launch a plastic-free tea bag made from a type of banana tree.

The move is part of the company’s strategy to reduce the environmental impact of its tea products and help the country cut down on single-use plastic products. This effort falls in line with other areas of the drinks industry, including reducing the use of plastic packaging.

Around 60.2 billion plastic cups are used by tea drinkers per year and 96% of consumers choose tea bags over granules. Removing plastic from the industry will mean far less environmentally impactful waste will end up in landfill or polluting the oceans.

“Around 60.2 billion plastic cups are used by tea drinkers per year.”

Most UK brands make tea bags out of polypropylene, a sealing plastic that is used to secure the bags and ensure that they retain their shape.

Clipper’s new plastic-free bags will comprise a blend of banana species abaca and a biopolymer made from a renewable, non-genetically modified (GM) plant material known as polylactide (PLA). The new bags will also be biodegradable, unbleached and suitable for composting.

The plastic-free bags have been in production since 20 October and will be introduced to the market at a later stage.

During a transition period, retailers will still be able to sell the plastic tea bags in store.

Clipper will be joining other tea brand companies, including PG Tips and the Co-op, which have already announced their plans to introduce plastic-free tea bags by the end of the year.