2019 was a year of testing and learning where our tea bags were concerned. From initial trials of our PLA tea bags we thought the seal was strong enough to roll out more widely. But we hit a major hurdle as the sealing on some bags wasn’t working properly and they fell apart in people’s mugs.
So, we rolled back, and we’ve been analysing and trialling ever since. We’ve tried refurbishing our machines, altering settings and putting the finished tea bags through multiple tests. We’ve also worked with Sheffield University to help us study the tea bag paper and we’ve used what we’ve learned to redevelop the tea bag paper itself. We’ve now gone through our first trials and from early 2020 we’ve been able to make about a fifth of our UK Yorkshire Tea bags with PLA.
Our plan was to roll out to more machines in 2020, but Covid-19 brought big changes for factories. Keeping our staff distanced means keeping production simple, and the switch to PLA is anything but simple.
We’re really sorry that it’s going to take longer than we hoped. The plan is to restart it in January 2021, so half are switched by the end of April, about four fifths are switched by the end of July and the last few machines make the switch by November – at which point all UK Yorkshire Tea, Yorkshire Gold, Yorkshire Tea Decaf and Yorkshire Tea for Hard Water will be made with PLA.