Tea Brands Who Use Plastic-Free Tea Bags (UK List)

organic white tea unbleached teabags

Drinking tea is satisfying for you… but is it satisfying for the planet? Choosing plastic-free tea bags is important!

This is not the first time I’ve written about the importance of shopping with the environment in mind when it comes to tea. My article about the importance of certified organic tea remains one of my most-read pieces. With the UK slurping down 100 million cups of tea per day, the mountain of teabags we leave behind us is unbelievably huge.

So, let’s find out which tea bag brands are producing plastic-free tea bags. I’m also going to point out the outer packaging material, so you can see the difference between a plastic-free teabag brand, and a 100% plastic-free brand.

Information in this article was last updated in December 2022. It’s possible (and I remain hopeful) that some of the brands below will have switched out their plastic packaging since the last edit.

Why Plastic-Free Tea Bags Matter

Plastic is included in teabags to stop the bags themselves falling apart with age. They can also act like a glue and stop the paper degrading entirely when you pour over boiling water.

But this is a huge problem. Every teabag that ends in the bin or even your compost heap at home is introducing microplastics into the environment. Unable to biodegrade, they release toxins and chemicals.

It’s unclear how they are impacting our health, and due to the lack of studies and definitive answers, I’m not going to try to scare you with a list of potential side effects. But if we could avoid plastic in our teabags altogether, wouldn’t that be better? Why risk it?

Thankfully, there are many brands that are switching back to plastic-free paper teabags. You can find a list of these below.

What About PLA?

PLA stands for polylactic acid, which is a material that’s like plastic but is made from plant oils rather than unsustainable oil. As a result, PLA can be used to replace the plastic in teabags with an alternative that’s made from plants instead.

However, as the BBC discovered, PLA won’t break down unless it is composted commercially. Specific environmental requirements are needed to help it compost. Without the facilities available, teabags made with plant-based PLA are just as bad as ordinary plastic ones!

Whether PLA is bad for your health is also unknown, but I still say that you should avoid it if possible. With tea brands legally allowed to label their packaging as plastic free even if it contains PLA, it can be hard to find out exactly what is in each paper bag.

The Best Alternative

This is a good time to mention loose leaf tea!

While many people are happy to drink tea from teabags that are made with plant-based materials like PLA, I can definitely understand if you’d want to avoid it entirely. The best way to do this is to ditch teabags altogether.

Brewing with loose leaf tea takes a little extra effort, I won’t lie, but it also comes with unique advantages like more control over the strength of your tea and mixing your own blends or adding dried ingredients to taste. Furthermore, despite the higher upfront cost, you can re-use loose leaf tea by infusing the tea leaves multiple times. If you are trying to cut down on costs, it is definitely worth considering and may work out cheaper.

Read my article 4 Easy Ways to Brew Loose Leaf Tea to discover how to get started. It’s not as tricky as you think!

yorkshire plastic free tea bags

Most Popular UK Tea Brands

Here I’ve included most of the tea brands that are consumed every day in this country. You can find all of these in supermarkets, corner shops, Amazon, and plenty of other places. If you’re looking for supermarket own-brand teas, scroll down further.

Barry’s Tea

  • Teabag Material: paper
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic
  • Plastic-Free: bags only

Barry’s Tea teabags are plastic-free and biodegradable, as is the cardboard box they come in. The outer wrap is plastic but can be recycled (check with your council).


  • Teabag Material: unbleached paper
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic foil wrap
  • Plastic-Free: bags only

Clipper uses unbleached paper for their teabags, organic string, and biomaterials for their packaging. They use PLA in their teabags, so they can only be composted commercially. The only part that cannot be recycled, re-used, or composted is the foil wrap. However, Clipper is working on replacing this with biodegradable wrap soon.

PG Tips

  • Teabag Material: paper
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic
  • Plastic-Free: bags only

PG Tips have made their teabags entirely biodegradable (and proudly state so on the outer box) so they can go in the food waste bin. However, some of their teas are packaged with a polypropylene plastic film which cannot be recycled in the UK. Boo.

Pukka – Amazing Plastic-Free Tea Bags!

  • Teabag Material: paper
  • Packaging Material: card and paper
  • Plastic-Free: EVERYTHING!

Hurrah! The first 100% plastic-free teabags brand on my list. Pukka use unbleached paper for the teabags, paper to individually wrap each teabag, and a card outer box. With clever folding and a little cotton thread, no PLA is needed to seal the bags either. There’ a lot of paper waste, but thankfully no plastic. Pukka are also certified organic by the Soil Association and their warehouse is carbon neutral.


  • Teabag Material: paper
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic
  • Plastic-Free: bags only

Stockwell teabags are found at Tesco as an ultra cheap brand. If you want to pay pennies for your cuppas, they are worth considering. But the flavour is bad. As for packaging, the bags are flimsy paper and the outer packaging is non-recyclable.

Teapigs – Best Luxury Plastic-Free Tea Bags

  • Teabag Material: cornstarch
  • Packaging Material: card and woodpulp
  • Plastic-Free: EVERYTHING!

Teapigs are a wonderful brand if you care about the environment. Their pyramid teabags are made from cornstarch and the material that looks like plastic film is actually made from woodpulp! The teabag needs industrial composting (like PLA), but the film can go in your home compost heap.


  • Teabag Material: paper and plastic
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic
  • Plastic-Free: no – AVOID

Tetley teabags are not plastic-free. They use a small amount of plastic to seal the paper teabags. If you want to make sure the bags themselves are plastic-free, you need to buy the ones that are marked as biodegradable. Tetley DO NOT make this obvious.

Tetley outer-packaging may look like card, but the “soft packs” are plastic-laminated, so avoid those too. Individually wrapped teabags are plastic-free, however, they cannot be recycled with household waste in the UK.

Very poor effort from Tetley. Although their website states that they’re switching over and introducing changes in the coming years… it’s not good enough. Other tea brands have made the switch without all this dithering.


  • Teabag Material: paper
  • Packaging Material: plastic
  • Plastic-Free: bags only

Thompson’s teabags are paper, as far as we can tell. They actually don’t have a sustainability page on their website, which is unusual for 2022. Nonetheless, you can clearly see that the outer packaging is made from a plastic material. I can’t rule out a plastic “glue” in the teabags, however.

Tick Tock

  • Teabag Material: plant-based material
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic
  • Plastic-Free: bags only

Tick Tock use 100% plant-based material for their teabags (I suspect PLA), which can be industrially composted so pop them in the food waste bin. Their outer packaging is card; however, the inner foil is currently unrecyclable.


  • Teabag Material: paper
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic
  • Plastic-Free: bags only

Twinings have a range of products. If you buy a box of individually wrapped teabags, you will find that the entire thing is plastic-free. However, the usual box of teabags found in the supermarket have a plastic foil inner wrapper keeping the Twinings teabags fresh.

Twinings sell loose leaf tea, which is the best option for avoiding potential plastics altogether.


  • Teabag Material: paper
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic
  • Plastic-Free: bags only

Like most tea brands, Typhoo have paper teabags inside a plastic foil wrapper. This wrapper is inside a card box. So, only the foil part is plastic while the teabags themselves are compostable. Nothing special to see here!

Yorkshire Tea

  • Teabag Material: paper and plastic
  • Packaging Material: card and plastic
  • Plastic-Free: NO!

I applaud Yorkshire Tea’s transparency, as they are quite honest about the plastic they use in their teabags. Currently, only the packs of 240 teabags are plastic free. All other Yorkshire Tea bags (any kind of tea by this brand) are made with plastic in the teabags themselves. This is not good. There is also the outer plastic usually wrapped around the box too.

On a side note, I have reviewed Yorkshire Tea recently – I managed to find some individually wrapped teabags that are 100% plastic free on the outside. Read my Yorkshire Tea review to see for yourself.

black tea pyramid teabag

Supermarket Plastic-Free Tea Bag Brands

Many people are choosing supermarket teabags, due to the cost-of-living crises. So, let’s take a look at what these own-brand supermarket teabags are made of.

  • Aldi – Aldi’s range of tea is called ‘Specially Selected’ and they are marked as 100% biodegradable teabags. There may still be plastic wrapping around them, however.
  • Asda – since the end of October 2022, Asda has replaced the teabags in all own-brand teas with a corn starch-derived material that’s a natural plastic (AKA, PLA).
  • Co-op – this supermarket stated that they were going plastic-free with their teabags back in 2018, but no update has been posted since. Check the box carefully before buying.
  • Lidl – some blogs have reported that Lidl pyramid teabags are plastic-free. As Lidl has multiple tea ranges, check the box before buying.
  • Marks & Spencer – like Twinings, the plastic-free tea bags are made of paper but wrapped in a plastic foil within the box to keep them fresh.
  • Morrisons – paper bags, plastic foil (unrecyclable), and a card box. Standard and not very eco.
  • Ocado – just like Morrisons, the paper teabags and cardboard box are the only plastic-free elements. There is a plastic foil wrapper that cannot be recycled between them.
  • Sainsbury’s – the Red Label range from Sainsbury’s has recently been revamped to remove the plastic foil inside the box. Now you are left with paper teabags and a card box – both are plastic-free as far as I can tell.
  • Tesco – again, we have a plastic foil that can’t be recycled. The teabags and outer box appear to be paper-based and plastic-free.
  • Waitrose – the paper and card used to make the teabags and outer box is marked as unrecyclable! There is also a plastic lining that cannot be recycled. Poor effort.

5 Best Plastic-Free Tea Bags

Here are the five tea brands that I highly recommend if you are looking for a plastic-free cup of tea.

1. Teapigs

teapigs peppermint leaves teabag

Teapigs use large leaf pieces in pyramid teabags. This gives the leaf pieces space to expand and you get a really rounded and yummy flavour from the tea. They also have a wide range of herbal blends, green teas, festive options, etc.

To make their teabags and the see-through window in each box, Teapigs uses a plant-based material that looks like plastic and feels like plastic. But, it is actually totally biodegradable and made from natural materials.

Find Teapigs on Amazon UK

2. Pukka

pukka chamomile vanilla manuka honey teabag wrapper

Pukka are available in most UK supermarkets and they’re quite affordable. Dealing mostly with herbal blends (though I did enjoy their Gorgeous Earl Grey), they are known for their unbleached teabags, paper wrappers, and card boxes. Simple materials that are all biodegradable and can be easily recycled.

Pukka avoid requiring any kind of plastic by using a cotton thread tag, which holds the entire teabag together. It’s simple but works well and doesn’t cost the Earth. This tea brand is also certified organic by the Soil Association, which has strict rules for both the tea inside the bags and the packaging around them.

Find Pukka on Amazon UK

3. Hampstead Tea

hampstead green tea bags

Hampstead are a smaller brand than Pukka and Teapigs, but they’re still a British-based business and their teas are top notch. Besides being wrapped only in paper and card, their unbleached paper teabags contain biodynamic tea. Unlike just an organic certification, biodynamic farming ensures the land is left in a better condition thanks to the farming.

You can learn more about their teas by searching for Hampstead on our blog.

Find Hampstead Tea on Amazon UK

4. Ministry of Tea

ministry of tea earl grey teabags

Ministry of Tea are inspired by India and source organic ingredients for their teas. I used their chai teabags a few years back to make chai-spiced-hot-cross-buns and it was a huge success! As for packaging, they wrap each unbleached teabag in a paper envelope. This keeps the tea fresh without the need for a plastic foil bag within the outer box.

Find Ministry of Tea on Amazon UK

5. Tea+

tea plus vitamin teabags

Tea+ (also written as Tea Plus) sell a range of healthy teas, including vitamin and mineral-enriched tea blends. All their teas are individually wrapped in paper, thus avoiding the need for a plastic bag, and held together in a simple card box.

I really enjoyed reviewing Tea+ Magnesium Sleep Tea so I highly recommend starting there if you are new to the brand. They also have teas enriched with vitamin D and other nutrients that you may want to boost throughout the year.

Find Tea+ on Amazon UK


Which tea bags do not contain plastic?

Paper teabags may look plastic-free, but many aren’t! For plastic-free teabags, choose Pukka, Teapigs, or Hampstead Tea. Brands including Twinings, Clipper and PG Tips also have plastic-free teabags but contain plastic elsewhere in the packaging.

Which tea bags contain plastic?

Tetley and Yorkshire Tea are two well-known UK tea brands that have plastic in the teabags. Both have committed to changing this in the coming years (but not immediately) and use plastic elsewhere in their packaging too.

Are plastic tea bags safe?

Scientists reckon that every human on Earth has already got microplastics swimming around somewhere inside them. While plastic in teabags hasn’t been directly linked to any health issues, I firmly believe that we should avoid plastic teabags regardless. When a simple paper-only teabag will do, why put plastic in the mix at all?

What tea bags are biodegradable?

100% unbleached paper teabags are biodegradable – Pukka are a good example. Any teabag that is made from corn starch derived materials, like Teapigs for example, can also biodegrade but may not be able to do this on your compost heap. Just pop it in your food bin instead for commercial composting.

Are biodegradable tea bags compostable?

Some are, some aren’t. Paper teabags tend to be compostable at home, while teabags that contain a plant-based “plastic” called PLA can only be biodegraded in a commercial setting.

Which tea bags can be recycled?

Reusable paper or cotton teabags can be recycled. Just empty the leaves out, let the material dry, and add it to your paper recycling pile. If the teabag is plastic-free, it can often be biodegraded or composted rather than recycled – just put it with the rest of your food waste.

Which tea bags are plastic-free UK?

In the UK, Barry’s Tea, Clipper, PG Tips, Stockwell, Thompson’s, Tick Tock, Twinings, and Typhoo have plastic-free teabags. Other brands, like Pukka and Teapigs go one step further – both their teabags and packaging are entirely plastic-free.

Isobel Moore

Isobel Moore is a quiet, quirky and creative “human bean” whose favourite pastime is curling up with a cuppa and a good book.

Over the past 5 years, her tea reviews at Immortal Wordsmith have helped thousands of readers choose vibrant tea blends and single origin selections from fine, organic, and responsible tea companies.

As a professional content writer with a qualification in digital marketing, Isobel has worked with market-leading tea brands around the globe to develop their content marketing campaigns and gain exposure. Her professional portfolio can be found on Upwork.

Besides a deep-rooted passion for tea, Isobel writes on topics ranging from food and travel to wellness and literature.

Favourite Quote: “Manuscripts don’t burn” – Mikhail Bulgakov

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