What are our teabags made from?
As a tea drinking nation, Australia has fallen in love with the humble teabag. Unlike other tea loving countries where loose-leaf tea reigns supreme, we much prefer the convenience of the trusty tea bag. In fact, for many, a cuppa brewed with a teabag is part of our daily ritual.
The first use of the teabag dates back to over 100 years ago, when a New York Tea Merchant sent out samples of tea packed into silk bags. (Refer to history here). Some people assumed that the bags were to be used in the same way as metal infusers, and placed the entire bag into the pot to brew with. It was therefore by accident that the teabag was born!
In the 1980s, Nerada was one of the many packers in Australia to leverage teabag packing machinery to produce teabags in our Innisfail packing factory. Since then, the entire range of Nerada teas and herbal infusions are readily available in teabags and have all been packed at our Brisbane packing facility. Since 1991 we have invested in some of the most technologically advanced and high speed teabag machinery available to bring you Australia’s freshest cup of tea.
Times continue to change though. As a leading producer of tea in Australia, we recognise the need for continued innovation and we are always looking at ways to reduce our environmental footprint. We are proud of the fact that our Australian tea plantations are pesticide free, and all our other products are organically grown. Recently, we were the first agricultural enterprise in Australia to be awarded Rainforest Alliance Certification. Our environmental footprint is something that we take very seriously.
Details about our teabags
Currently, there are very few filter grade paper options available to tea producers that can seal the tea into the bags effectively whilst allowing the tea flavours to infuse naturally.
Our filter paper is manufactured using a blend of high-quality manila hemp, which does contain a tiny percentage (less than 2%) of food-grade synthetic fibres. Rest assured that this paper is very different to the pyramid silken type bags made from Nylon or PET that have been reported as being problematic in the press. We don’t use any of these bags.
These synthetic fibres are used to heat-seal the teabag, ensuring that the tea remains inside the bag while brewing. These heat-sealable fibres do not leak into the tea during the brewing process. In fact, the use of heat-sealable fibre in teabags has met with rigorous worldwide food and safety regulations, deeming their use 100% safe for the tea drinker. They are fully compliant with Food Standards Australia guidelines regarding the use of microplastics in food.
Our teabags are oxygen-whitened, which means they have not been treated with harmful chlorine or chlorine-based compounds. Not only are oxygen-whitened teabags healthier for the tea drinker, no harmful toxins enter the environment once the tea bag is discarded.
Nerada teabags are compostable when added to a normal garden compost heap. The natural fibres of the filter paper decompose at a natural pace, while the tiny amount (less than 2%) of synthetic fibres decompose at a slower rate than their natural counterparts.
Given that the popularity of the teabag in Australia shows no sign of waning, the next stage of our product evolution will naturally focus on the teabag, and how we can make it more environmentally sustainable.
Our dedicated team at Nerada are currently in the process of trialing a new filter paper made from 100% natural fibres. The initial trials are positive, and if all continues to go to plan we intend to introduce this new filter paper to our teabags later this year. We’re currently working through final phases of testing to ensure that the teabag string attaches securely to this new paper to ensure that you can retrieve your teabag from your cup of tea after the desired brew time.
As a team we’re also working towards exceeding Australian legislative requirements to be fully plastic free in our packaging by 2025, so other trials and materials are under constant trial and investigation.
A loose leaf alternative
If, in the meantime, you would prefer to drink your tea bag-free, we suggest brewing a pot or cup using our pesticide-free loose leaf tea range. Launched online and in our Tea Rooms at our tea estate, they are proving incredibly popular with our customers.
If you’d like to be the first to know when the Nerada natural teabag becomes available or further packaging enhancements take place, please sign up to our mailing list below and you’ll be among the first to hear the news.